The Myerscough College campus occupies a site with approximately 100 buildings, which includes halls of residence for more than 650 students. The original buildings were built in the 1960s, but only in the last 10 years has the college significantly expanded to accommodate rising student numbers. Although the exterior has since been updated, the underground water supply pipe work is still old and has had no major renewal for over 40 years!
The college was experiencing excessive water consumption at the campus. They were aware of the problem at the time and they wanted to act, but isolating where water was being wasted was going to prove challenging on this complex site. 10 water meters monitored the various sections of the college which included; the main campus, farms, a horticulture unit, equine arenas and stables.
The key driver for this project was the opportunity to reduce water costs and reduce the environmental impact associated with high water consumption.
Myerscough College decided to take part in the AquaFund® scheme, an initiative delivered by ADSM. The AquaFund® scheme was created to help the public sector reduce water costs and consumption without the need for any budget.
A base line audit of water consumption was first carried out by ADSM in May 2008, after which the college signed up to a three year water saving contract. Consumption was monitored against the base allowing the impact of various water saving activities to be assessed.
- Reduce water consumption from 85,000m3 per year to 60,000m3 per year
- Reduce water costs by a minimum of £10,000 per year
- Reduce the environmental impact associated with water supply by at least 10%
- Install a borehole to supply 20m3 of water per day to the college’s dairy unit
- Persuading management to sign a three year contract which appeared too good to be true – management were skeptical from previous experience of dealing with contracts requiring additional budget as they unfolded
- Below ground leakage was confirmed but unable to identify its general location on the large campus
- Lack of robust data monitoring
- Communicating and managing shut downs in water usage across the campus so infrastructure could be upgraded
- No automatic meter reader on the seven ancillary meters around the campus
- Identifying the problem along with potential cost savings focused the mind of management. The college also sought feedback from the University of Derby which recommended the scheme
- Additional isolation valves were installed to investigate more accurately the source of the leakage
- The automatic meter reader was fitted to the main campus meter and meter readings were captured every 15 minutes
- Effective, constructive communications by e-mail alerts to students and staff emphasizing the reason for the shut down
- Monthly annual readings of these meters by Estates staff introduced to facilitate more robust data
Performance and results
Installing the automatic meter reader on the main campus meter, combined with additional isolation valves, meant the college had more control over its water usage and was better able to understand it.
Eleven months into the scheme, water consumption was slightly reduced but there was potential to significantly reduce consumption by identifying and fixing leaks, and installing more water saving devices.
As part of the AquaFund® scheme, ADSM produced monthly consumption reports. In December 2008, this identified a potential leak of around 130m3 per day – around six milk tankers a day. The college worked with ADSM and United Utilities to locate the leak and it was quickly fixed by the Estates team in January 2009. Myerscough College are on track for a 22,000m3 (£30K) saving this year.
Allan Nickson, Head of Sustainability and Special Projects at Myerscough College said: “AquaFund® has provided us with the means to make sustainable water efficiencies across the college. It has also given us the ability to quantify these through their detailed monthly reports and to pinpoint our savings. We have had great cooperation from ADSM and they are easy to deal with. AquaFund® is a very worthwhile scheme.“