We’ve made both large and small changes to decrease our water usage. One of our biggest projects is the closed-loop solar/aquatic waste water treatment system in the Charles Townes Science Center. The living machine uses natural processes to clean the building’s water. It’s then re-circulated into the building as grey water, which can be used for non-potable water demands like flushing toilets.
On a smaller scale, we retrofitted our dormitories with low flow shower aerators and sink aerators and switched our iconic fountains from a 24-hour operating schedule to an eight-hour operating schedule, reducing the amount of water lost to evaporation. We’ve also upgraded our irrigation efficiency by using water from Furman Lake. That change alone covers 30 percent of our irrigation needs.
Furman Lake is also the site of an ongoing research project aimed at improving the quality of the entire lake environment. Our students and faculty use the lake as a living laboratory to study the effects of restoration efforts on water and habitat quality.