Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Green Leaders to Install Dual-Flush Toilet System in Anderson

This winter break, campus Green Leaders hope to push one of the oldest buildings on campus toward a more sustainable future by installing dual-flush toilet systems in Anderson Hall.

Modeled after a past project in the Reid Campus Center, the new project will change all flush systems in Anderson to a dual-flush system that saves water by flushing different amounts of water depending on the type of waste. The goal of the project is to become more environmentally friendly and save money through the conservation of water.

The project will be made possible with the help of the Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund or SRLF that makes money available, through the school, to students to fund projects that make campus environmentally sustainable.

“We expect that we will be able to pay back the money for the loan within five years and actually make a profit within those years,” said first-year Eliana Schwartz, a Green Leader in Anderson working on the project.

The Reid installation project was successful but had some situational setbacks. Because the building’s kitchens are connected to the bathroom’s water, the ability to measure the actual water savings from the dual-flush system was almost impossible to compute.

“We installed nine dual-flush toilets in Reid and that cost around $1,000. Because of the confusion with the water, it wasn’t obvious that any savings were made,” said senior Hannah Siano, one of the environmentalists behind the Reid installations.

Though the installation at Reid was unsuccessful at providing solid monetary value to the water savings, it did have optimistic aspects.

“The positive for Reid is that it is a very central location and a lot of people are exposed to them and thinking about the water savings. But I want it to be solid savings and not just educational,” said Siano.

Anderson is an ideal building to start the project because its water supply is not connected to any kitchen or other building. This allows the Green Leaders to measure the water before the project and after to compute the water savings.

“Anderson is the only building on its own water meter, so we can actually see what difference we are making,” said Schwartz.

Along with the application of the loan, Green Leaders must talk to all the people who would be involved in the project.

“We think that Anderson will better show how well it works. We have to apply for the loan, we also have to talk to [Residence] Life to get them to front us the money and then we will pay it back over time. We have to talk to the people at the Physical Plant and see if they can install the flushes for us, and they said that they would at no charge, which is nice,” said Schwartz.

Anderson also has a more stable population of users than Reid, making it more likely that the toilets will be used efficiently.

“The other positive benefit is that residents will be living there a whole year or semester. So if we turn this in this fall, then we hope to get [the toilets] installed over winter break, and then people living there all semester will be educated,” said Siano. “I think it will be helpful to get the same people using them all the time and thinking about it and trying to get them to use them correctly.”

The Green Leaders hope to spread education through the implementation of the project along with the conservation of water.

“It really helps spread education to not only the students who are using the toilets, but also to set a model and example for other students to do similar projects … Hopefully this can be a model of a project that takes effort, and it takes thought but is doable and can have a really cool impact on the building and spreading education for everybody,” said senior Sustainability Coordinator Natalie Jamerson.

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