January 25, 2018

How does Shedd Aquarium save water? Upgrades and ingenuity.

Of all the places you might imagine trying to conserve water, an aquarium could be the most challenging. After all, you can’t ask a beluga whale to swim in less water. Even so, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium—one of the world’s largest—has cut its water consumption by more than 50% since 2012, saving 32 million gallons a year.

2.5 million gallons a year of those savings come from scientific insight. The Aquarium’s staff realized that water from the shark and stingray exhibit—full of microorganisms beneficial to dolphins, whales, and sea lions—could be recycled into the Oceanarium instead of being pumped out as wastewater.

Here’s a look at how this world-class entertainment venue achieves sustainability with style.

Sustainability at Shedd

Shedd has developed other ways to keep its facility sustainable—no small task when that facility is home to more than 32,000 aquatic animals.

In addition to the shark water recycling system, Shedd has also reduced its water requirements by installing a rainwater capture system that feeds into the Aquarium’s chilling tower.

The Aquarium also installed 913 solar panels on the roof of the Abbott Oceanarium and replaced light fixtures throughout the building with efficient LED bulbs. These power-saving measures indirectly contribute to water savings, as well, because electric generation plants use almost half the water drawn in the United States every day. Conserving energy helps conserve water.

Flushometer handles—conservation and education

Shedd achieved further water savings by upgrading the facility’s plumbing fixtures with Sloan water-efficient components. Note: “Upgrading” does not mean “completely replacing.”

For instance, Shedd installed UPPERCUT® retrofit kits on all 80 of its toilet flushometers throughout the facility. The UPPERCUT lets users push the familiar green handle down for a full solid waste flush (1.6 gpf), or up for a reduced liquid waste flush (1.1 gpf)—reducing water usage by as much as 30%.

Multiply that 30% by the 10,000 visitors Shedd welcomes on a busy weekend, and the water savings are huge. Plus, the UPPERCUT retrofit kits come with two metal wall plates that educate users about the product’s water conservation abilities every time they flush.

That’s great for the toilets—but what about the urinals, you may ask? Shedd installed high-efficiency Sloan Royal 186 flushometers on the urinals that use only .5 gpf or less. They also have signs above them indicating their water savings.

Sustainability with style

The water-saving improvements didn’t stop with flushometers. Shedd installed 42 new sensor-activated BASYS® faucets, too. Sensor faucets can reduce water usage by as much as 40%, and BASYS faucets also offer various flow rates, integral water supply shutoff, and sleep mode settings for further water reduction.

Plus, Shedd took advantage of Sloan’s new custom engraving feature to add its brand and logo to the crown of every new faucet. Talk about sustainability with style!

Want to know more about Sloan innovations that save building owners billions of gallons of water every year? Talk to Sloan!

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