Stanford University’s Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) received the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award in the Greenscape Management Category at an awards ceremony that took place on March 22nd —World Water Day— at the Cubberley Community Center Theater in Palo Alto. The award recognized R&DE Student Housing for upgrading its entire irrigation system, which has reduced irrigation water use by 44%. This overhaul saves $200,000 and 32 million gallons of water per year across 57 acres of land under R&DE’s stewardship.
“When Governor Brown announced the state of emergency and drought in 2014, Senior Associate Vice Provost for R&DE Dr. Shirley Everett challenged R&DE leadership by asking, ‘How are we going to do our part?’” recalled Kristin Parineh, R&DE Sustainability and Utility Programs Manager. "This project is part of our response."
The resulting million-dollar project included upgrading 90 irrigation controllers, installing 70 flow sensors and master valves, and implementing weather-based models over a five-month period. Also, more than 20,000 sprinkler heads and nozzles were replaced with the latest in efficient technology. The weather-based controllers allow irrigation schedules to be automatically adjusted based on the weather, including automatic shut off in response to rain.
R&DE also partnered with Stanford Utilities to convert multiple irrigation sites that previously used lake water from Hetch Hetchy reservoir, reserving the high quality domestic water for potable uses and sensitive research elsewhere on campus.
“Sustainability is a way of life, and a core value for R&DE,” said Dr. Everett. “I am grateful to everyone who collaborated with us on this project, which will advance our goal of being responsible stewards of university resources and the planet’s.”
In addition to the award, the project received commendations from the California Legislature Assembly and the California Senate, and a congratulatory letter from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
Along with Parineh, Mike VanFossen, Senior Director R&DE Maintenance Operations & Capital Projects; Vinnie Hama, R&DE Work Flow & Resource Manager; Bill Manella, R&DE Senior Project Manager; and other members of the project team were present to accept the award.