Water & Energy Conservation

Foundational Information

Students living on campus are aware of the energy and water they use on a daily basis. Residents should become aware of the energy that goes into everyday operations such as heating water for laundry, water consumption rates and electricity costs. 

Individual Impact

Students will make conscious decisions about their use of energy and make efforts to reduce the energy they consume, and establish patterns of behavior that support ongoing and continuous conservation measures. 

Learning Tools

Students should become aware of water usage savings measures such as turning off water while brushing one’s teeth, taking shorter showers, washing full loads in cold water, and turning off lights when leaving a room.    

Water & Energy :  “Did You Know” Campaigns 

#1.  Don’t Be a Drip- Address Leaks

  • The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That's equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
  • Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.
  • SSU Facilities Department is very responsive to fixing leaks. 
  • Report leaks and other maintenance concerns by calling 707-664-4021!

#2. Laundry Efficiency: Using Cold Water

  • Using hot water to wash your clothing equals roughly 1600 pounds of carbon emission per year, which is the equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced from a flight from Los Angeles to New York.
  • If you switch to washing most of your clothes with the cold water setting, you can reduce 90% of those CO2 emissions.
  • Washing your clothes in cold water also helps them to last longer, shrink less, fade less, and still gets them clean. 

#3. Turning the Water Off When Brushing Teeth 

  • Using the average bathroom sink, water runs at 1 Gallon  a minute
  • If you brush your teeth 2 times a day for 2 minutes that's 4 gallons a day. 
  • Between now and finals if you turn your water off when brushing your teeth you can save 476 gallons of water. 
  • If everyone living on campus does this we can save almost 1,500,000 gallons of water! That’s 3 Olympic sized pools of water (each pool is close to 500,000 gallons) 

Water & Energy Conservation Challenges

Challenge Info #1: Ban the Bottle   

Fall Semester 
Student Action: Use refillable water bottle as primary source of beverage container 
Mechanisms for participation: 

  • Students will receive water bottles at move in with the locations/ map for water bottle filling stations.
  • Students will be rewarded with tokens by their CSA whenever spotted with using a refillable bottle on campus.
  • Residents will be encouraged to buy bulk servings rather than individual/single serving sized drinks.
  • They will be encouraged to join the "Take Back the Tap” Movement


  • Reduced need for bottled single serving size beverages. Save resources by drinking from glasses, BPA free reusable bottles, or water fountains whenever possible.
  • Monetary savings. Free hydration stations available in several locations around campus and the community.
  • More informed decision-making.  Bottled water is not necessarily purer or safer than tap. Water filters can be purchased if absolutely necessary

“Did You Know” Information

  • Your tap water is filtered naturally and meets or exceeds over a hundred different standards for drinking water quality. Water bottled and sold in the same state isn’t inspected at all, meaning no quality testing oversight for 60 to 70 percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S.! Source: Reader's Digest.
  • More than 25 percent of bottled water comes from a municipal supply (meaning it’s tap water!). Source: Reader's Digest.
  • The U.S. is the largest consumer market for bottled water in the world. In the U.S., 1,500 plastic water bottles are consumed every second. Source:onegreenplanet.
  • It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. This amount of oil far exceeds the amount needed to power 100,000 homes for a year, which does not include fossil fuel and emissions costs of greenhouse gases needed to transport the final product to market. Source:waterproject.
  • Packaging [for bottled water] makes a significant footprint; three liters of water might be used to make a half-liter bottle [of water]. In other words, the amount of water going into making the bottle could be up to six or seven times what’s inside the bottle. Source:smallfootprintfamily.
  • In summary, the manufacture and transport of that one kilogram bottle of Fiji [brand] water consumed...
  • 26.88 kilograms of water (7.1 gallons)
  • 0.849 Kilograms of fossil fuel (one litre or .26 gal) and
  • Emitted 562 grams of Greenhouse Gases (1.2 pounds). Source:treehugger.

Challenge Info #2: Taking Shorter Showers Spring Semester

Student Action : Students will reduce the amount of time in showers, thus reducing the amount for water used and energy used to heat water. 

Mechanisms for Participation

  • Residential showers will be  outfitted with shower timers
  • Students will be asked to chart their shower time and report via  the an App (more info to come). They will be rewarded with tokens by their CSA every time they make an entry.


  • SSU Residential Community overall water consumption will be reduced.
  • Students will adopt new behaviors of water consumption. 

“Did You Know” Information on Indoor Water Consumption


Gallons Used (Conventional) 


Toilet Flushing 

5 - 7 gallons per flush 

Average shower = 12 -15 minutes 
A 15 minute shower = 150 gallons 
Many people shower more than 15 minutes 
During hot weather, we tend to shower more often 

Shower (water running) 

7 - 10 gallons per minute 


Bath (full tub) 

36 - 50 gallons (conventional) 


Laundry Machine (full load) 

60 gallons top loader 



15 gallons normal load 


Dish Washing by hand 

30 gallons tap running 



20 gallons tap running 


Brushing Teeth 

10 gallons tap running 


Washing Hands 

2 gallons tap running