UBC Vancouver’s water consumption continued to decline last year, despite continued growth of the campus. This was achieved as a result of increasing the water efficiency of our buildings and infrastructure, including the Academic District Energy System. Rainwater management remained another important aspect of building design for individual sites, in order to reduce the risk of flooding.
WATER CONSERVATION PROJECTS REDUCED CONSUMPTION
Retrofit projects to buildings and infrastructure continued to increase water use efficiency and decrease water consumption and costs, with total water consumption down by 50 percent since 2000. Decommissioning the campus steam plant, plus our continued conversion from steam to hot water through the Academic District Energy System, significantly contributed to water savings on campus. Combined, these projects will save 272 million litres of water per year.
NEW DRAFT WATER ACTION PLAN BEING COMPLETED
UBC has drafted a new Water Action Plan to build on achievements to date and guide our water management activities in the future. The draft plan addresses areas including metering and reporting, landscape and irrigation, alternative water sources, drinking water, and campus engagement. Collaborations through the development of the plan have already facilitated a Campus as a Living Lab research project at the UBC Farm, aimed at minimizing the water footprint of agriculture. The plan is scheduled for completion in fall 2018.
RAINWATER MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE RISK
Development at Wesbrook Village included an additional stormwater detention pond for the former BC Research site. The added use of stormwater infiltration and increased soft landscape with new buildings reduces the amount of rainwater that is sent to the storm sewer system. The long-term implementation of the Integrated Stormwater Management Plan will further reduce the risk of flooding and the amount of rainwater sent directly to the ocean.
In support of further enhanced rainwater management, SEEDS research projects investigated the installation of green roofs for new campus buildings, through collaborations between students from the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and architects, planners, and engineers from UBC’s Campus + Community Planning Department. The result was a sophisticated modelling tool for measuring benefits in stormwater management.
Water consumption at UBC Okanagan is attributed to academic and residential building use, evaporative cooling, and irrigation. While absolute water consumption increased last year by four percent compared to 2013, we achieved a four percent reduction in water consumption per student (full-time equivalent). Ongoing improvements include irrigation system upgrades, equipping academic building facilities with low flow faucets, showerheads and toilets, and using aerators in labs to reduce water use.
WATER CONSERVATION ACTIONS
Last year many campus water conservation actions focused on irrigation, landscaping and new construction. The campus’ wireless irrigation system now reduces water use by adjusting irrigation to local weather conditions, while the addition of zone control to new areas of campus and a focus on indigenous, drought tolerant plants are anticipated to further reduce irrigation demand. All new academic facilities including The Commons – a major addition to the Library – now use high efficiency fixtures in line with UBC’s fixture performance policies.
INTEGRATED RAINWATER MANAGEMENT PLAN
UBC Okanagan’s new Integrated Rainwater Management Plan (IRMP) focuses on rainwater management at the source through the application of cost-effective, low impact techniques, that reduce risks to infrastructure and deliver human and ecological benefits. The plan provides direction for 100 percent rainwater management on campus to achieve regulatory requirements and safeguard campus infrastructure from flood risks.
The new transit exchange, Commons building, Upper Campus Connector and adjacent parking lots have been designed and constructed to achieve the IRMP’s minimum retention requirements through features including rain-gardens, bioswales, and infiltration measures. Benefits include support for natural hydrological processes, enhanced campus ecology and biodiversity, additional habitat and wildlife corridors, and social amenities.
2050 WHOLE SYSTEMS PERFORMANCE GOALS
#3 Optimize water quality, supply, and security
#4 Enhance and/or Restore the Ecology
#5 100% Diversion of Rainwater from Municipal Systems