The University will install 120 Propelair ultra low water-use toilets in washrooms across Streatham Campus

Ultra low water-use toilets to help meet ambitious sustainability goals

The University’s Energy Team is pleased to announce an exciting water and energy saving project starting this November. The project is part of the first phase of the University’s recently approved 2016-2026 Low Carbon Commitment Implementation Plan, which will help it to reach its 2026 target to reduce energy-related carbon by 50 per cent.

The project will see the installation of 120 Propelair ultra low water-use toilets across campus in the coming months. The revolutionary toilet uses just 1.5 litres per flush and will be installed in washrooms in the Harrison Building on Streatham campus, from 5 November. Following an initial monitoring period to ensure their smooth operation, the remaining toilets will be installed during December and January in the following buildings: Kay House, Laver, Innovation Centre 1 and 2, Amory and Streatham Court.

Each toilet uses 84% less water than the average toilet, and 80% less energy by reducing the amount of energy used for water and waste processing. As a result the project will contribute to the University’s carbon reduction target as well generating an estimated £30,000 per year saving on water costs.

The project, funded through the EU's Horizon 2020 Programme, is a partnership between Estate Services, the University’s Centre for Water Systems, Propelair and Over The Air Analytics. The programme is part of a large-scale ‘living lab’ study funded by the European Union to research the water-saving benefits and other impacts of the technology. Research led by Professor David Butler of the Centre for Water Systems will investigate water-saving and downstream impacts over the course of the year.

This latest project follows on from the publication of our ambitious carbon reduction targets earlier in October, and is one of a number of low carbon projects underway on campus. It is part of the University’s commitment to limit our environmental impact, whilst also living our values to make the most of our resources.

Professor Butler said: “As an advocate of reduced water and energy consumption, it’s important that we lead the way in these important technology innovations, so I’m delighted that, as a university, we are installing these water and energy efficient toilets across campus.”

Craig Nowell, Director of Campus Infrastructure and Operational Support Services, said: “This project is a great contribution to our ambitious Low Carbon Campus Implementation Plan and has the added benefit of being a fully funded research project, demonstrating our commitment to being at both the forefront of research in this area and to operating our campuses in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Andy Seaman, Energy Manager at the University of Exeter, said: “This project provides significant water, energy and financial savings and we are delighted to be delivering it at no cost to the University through the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The benefits of this include the supply and installation of the low-flush toilets at a value of £130,000; monitoring and surveys undertaken by OTA Analytics at a value of £50,000; as well as the fully-funded Contract Research Project.”

The project will also feature a number of staff and student engagement initiatives on campus, aimed at further reducing water usage.  We also hope to lead on initiatives supporting the work of sustainable water and sanitation charity, Water Aid. Estate Services staff will also be working closely with colleagues across the University to minimise disruption during the installation process and to ensure their smooth ongoing operation. For any questions about the project please email either Andy Seaman or Joel Smith.

Date: 17 October 2018

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