By Lori Walewski and Shannon Walz
Freshwater is a precious resource. Access to freshwater is becoming a serious issue around the world due to climate change, pollution and our current water habits around water use. The Water Petal’s intent is to rethink our water usage and what happens with wastewater so that buildings, campuses and even cites use water more sustainably. It requires that water be used based on what is available at their site AND balances human water consumption with water needs of other living things.
To achieve this petal, Wolf Ridge needs to meet the Net Zero Water Imperative. This means that we must get our water from rain runoff and/or water in our watershed. The Imperative demands a 100% closed loop system and no chemical use. We calculated the average rainfall for the building footprint and how much water will be used in the building per year. It turns out that the West Dorm footprint gathers more rain than the water used throughout the building so we actually are net positive for this Imperative! The waste water stays on site and is purified in our septic system without the use of chemicals fulfilling the closed loop system.
This Imperative is a fairly easy one to meet for us, however, it is a challenge for projects in other parts of the country where the water is piped in from a great distance or connected to urban water treatment systems which use chemicals. Current urban building codes also restrict how wastewater is handled.
Work on the Maintenance Building is in its final stages. The building should be turned over to Wolf Ridge to do some painting and final shelving installs. In the Naturalist House insulation and drywall work is being done. The pipes for the water lines are being installed and work continues on the exterior.