Sustainability Impacts of Installing Low-Flow Toilets in a University Residence Hall

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This study evaluates the sustainability impact of replacing inefficient toilets with low-flow units in a residence hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A graduate student initiated this project through the university's Green Fund, which supports initiatives that improve the sustainability of campus facilities and engages students in the process. Each toilet upgraded to an efficient unit is estimated to save at least $2,380 in utility bills and reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions by 54 percent over the life of the unit. This simple intervention strategy does not require any changes to daily habits, yet contributes to significant reductions in water consumption. The partnership between students and staff offers educational potential both for those involved in the project and those impacted by the upgrades. Other institutions of higher education may want to consider upgrades to high-efficiency toilets for their potential to conserve large amounts of water and save thousands of dollars in utility costs over the life of the units.






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Uelmen, JA, I Aley, B Nehls and A Hicks (2020). Sustainability Impacts of Installing Low-Flow Toilets in a University Residence Hall. Sustainability (United States), 13(2). pp. 74–80. 10.1089/sus.2019.0030 Retrieved from

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Johnny Uelmen

Program Dir

I am fascinated with infectious diseases. The resiliency of pathogens never ceases to amaze me. To begin to understand how pathogens survive (and thrive) in a given disease system, techniques and methods across multiple scientific disciplines must come together. I am an Epidemiologist at the core, but my background includes Ecology, Entomology, Geography (and GIS), Environmental Studies, and Biology. I work best collaborating with members not just in Public Health, Epidemiology, GIS, and Entomology, but also in Chemistry, Physics, both Veterinary and Human Medicine, and Informatics, to name a few! Please do not hesitate to send an email to say hi!

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