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December 28, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is plumbing retrofits.
Nothing makes an organization focus on water conservation like a 100-year drought. Just ask Mark Duclos, director of maintenance and operations with the University of Georgia. The university is the largest water user in Athens-Clarke County in Georgia, and Duclos and his department were responsible for monitoring water use on campus and identifying ways to conserve amidst a 100-year drought that peaked in fall 2007. The first step in their efforts was putting together a task force.
"The task force was in direct response to the drought we were going through at the time," Duclos says. "The task force was put together not only to meet the governor's 10 percent mandate, but also to look at the university, as a whole to see what we could do to be better stewards."
The task force determined a significant percentage of campus water use stems from plumbing fixtures - sinks, urinals, toilets, and showers. Duclos and his department already had begun analyzing water use on campus a few years before the drought hit, but the arid conditions created by the drought expedited fixture retrofits designed to save water and reduce the frequency of inspection and maintenance.
As maintenance and engineering managers inside and outside water-stricken regions of the country focus on water conservation and undertake large-scale retrofits to comply with sustainability plans, programs to monitor water use, along with advances in plumbing-fixture technology, are playing central roles in many organizations' efforts to curtail water waste.