UCI Health’s chiller plant houses all the water treatment, chillers and electrical distribution for the health system’s non-hospital buildings.

Image courtesy of UCI Health

For Joe Brothman, director of facilities and general services for University of California, Irvine (UCI) Health, Orange, Calif., water conservation and efficiency require a method of saving water at every location — including every faucet and flush.

That approach has enabled UCI Health to already surpass its targeted conservation goal of cutting water usage by 37% by the year 2025. 

Brothman says this success in water conservation is particularly noteworthy given continued growth of the health system — both in square footage and in patients served — while also living through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some targets of these programs include installing toilet flushing systems with flushometers with the option of flushing liquids only versus solid wastes, as well as retrofitting fixtures with water-saving faucet laminar devices and showerheads. 

Larger measures, however, have had an exponential ripple effect. Water infrastructure and management improvements include centralizing much of UCI’s HVAC equipment; replacing outdated infrastructure; using recycled and reclaimed water from the city of Irvine when possible; and reducing watering of outdoor grounds.

“We’ve done a lot of the low-hanging fruit, but I’m confident we’ll find more opportunities to save,” Brothman says.

The health care system was recognized as a Conservation Champion by Water Savers Solutions, a consulting firm based in California.