Universities and Colleges

In Higher Ed, Solids Beat the Drums

Universities and colleges take the lead with safe and sustainable solids

Colleges and universities take a leadership role when it comes to “green” building construction, retrofitting existing structures and overall improvement in sustainability. Because of this, many have been eager to make the switch from liquids to solids. Like other organizations, higher education institutions are motivated to save financial resources and energy. However, with an estimated 17 million students enrolled at over 4,000 Universities and Colleges in the United States (source), several additional factors set the higher education segment apart:

  • Solids help enhance the university’s reputation. As organizations like AASHE and Center for Green Schools become more well-known and the competition for the best students and faculty intensifies, universities are working to become more attractive by enhancing their reputation. Sustainable initiatives and green buildings have become important factors for attracting potential students.
  • Switching to solids provides high visibility. Universities appreciate the positive public relations they reveive from making the switch to solids. Many university presidents have signed off on the ACUPCC pledge, which makes their success in their journey to being carbon neutral very visible. Solids beat the drums of liquid chemicals on this journey.
  • Solids are safer to handle and dispose of. The health and well-being of the student and faculty population is of the highest priority. Solids provide a safe campus environment for employees in facilities management and for everyone else on campus.
  • Solids support budget constraints. Both state and federal governments provide incentives to improve energy efficiency, save water and build green (i.e. EPA Funding Opportunities). Colleges and universities looking for ways to help their dwindling budgets can compare solids to liquids and see the how solids can help with these incentives.

Case Study – A university reduces water treatment costs by 80%

Water Treatment Challenge:

One large public university in the eastern United States had been using liquid chemistry water treatment programs to treat their cooling towers and boilers. When the university faced implementing OSHA safety mandates associated with their water treatment program, including retention areas, eye wash stations, and showers, the estimates for these improvements ranged from $60,000 to $140,000.

Solving the Water Treatment Challenge with Solids:

After one year of reviewing and testing several alternatives to the existing liquid chemisty program, the university decided to transition to make the switch to solids. After nine years of the solids program, the performance results are dramatic. The solid chemistry program and improved equipment control produced significant savings.

  • Total water treatment costs were reduced by 80%.
  • The university did not have to implement the OSHA mandated work, saving the university up to an estimated $140,000 in investments for containment systems, showers and eye wash stations.

The university benefits from a significant reduction in maintenance of equipment, meaning longer equipment life and reduced labor costs.

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