Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$15,000
Letter of Intent: 

UW is a leading university in sustainability.  While being ranked top 5 in the world, we, as a school, have taken the initiative and responsibility to lead by example.  Vincent and I (Robert) have put much thought into the impact and financial benefits a flush free urinal can have on campus.  We want to focus on implementing Water-less urinals at Odegaard Library due to its high traffic.  It has around 15-20 urinals, making this a very feasible project, and is possibly the most used when it comes to bathroom usage.  If UW takes a step in water conservation in a place as rainy as Seattle, how can others ignore the beneficial impact of flush free urinals.
Water-less urinals are a step towards lowering water consumption and carbon footprints.  Water may not be thought of as a limited resource in Washington, but the statistics show that more wildfires and lower water supplies have been evident in this state in the past years.  The whole earth shares the same water supply, and the UW should take action to lower water consumption.  A typical Water-less urinal can save approximately 40,000 gallons of water a year.  At a school like UW, with 40,000 students and a plethora of bathrooms, the amount of water that could be saved is huge.  A typical urinal uses 3 gallons of water per flush.  The flush free urinal uses 0 gallons of water from the first use to the last use.  Imagine how much water could be saved in Odegaard library alone. 
A crucial point about the Water-less urinal is that it does not force users to do anything differently besides not pressing the flushing handle, and lets be honest many often don’t flush when using a urinal.  It is a way for all urinal users to easily lower water consumption, without having to change their lifestyle.  Adding on, these urinals come with a sign/plaque that explains how they work and the saving they do.  Every time someone uses one of these urinals, they will read that 40,000+ gallons of water is being saved because of it.  This constant reminder has the potential to influence people to do more and make a push to further lower their water consumption or carbon footprint.  Adding more signs on how to save water or be more environmentally friendly could further influence users to be more sustainable. 
The Water-less urinal is a pretty simple technology that looks just like a normal urinal minus the flushing handle.  It is uses gravity to send fluids to a trap chamber with a liquid sealant.  This sends waste cleanly down the drainpipes without any smell.  The liquid sealant is usually held in a replaceable piece that uses filters the waste through oil, which is lighter than water, thus trapping waste and smell to the sewage system.  This process is already used to keep the smelly odors from sewage lines re-appearing on the surface.   As for sanitation, urine is sterile and once it passes through the filter, the urine will not be exposed to air where bacteria would normally grow.  Still, this is a bathroom and will need normal cleaning, regardless of what urinal technology.
This project is extremely feasible.  In simple terms this would be a three-step process: purchasing of the urinals and necessary parts, installation, and finally letting the campus know about them with a simple explanation of how they work.  The first step would include finding which urinal brand and number would be the best.  These urinals retail at $250-$1000 per urinal with a $50 replacement piece, which should be replaced after a predetermined amount of uses (roughly 1500 uses, depending on the model).  The second step would be hiring contractors to install the urinals.  These contractors can be found by Vincent and myself or we could use previous contracts that have already worked with the UW.  The purchasing of a Water-less urinal also often comes with an installation option at an additional cost.  As for timing, the installation phase would be relatively quick.  In a place such as Odegaard, one bathroom could be done at a time, so that there would always be at least a few places to use the bathroom when one is being worked on.  The last step is simply placing informative signs on the urinals that explain their water saving effects, and letting students know about the urinal change.  The main potential issue is that if the pipes are pressurized and not gravity based, they would have to be adjusted for the urinals to work correctly.  There is also the possibility of there being conflict with approval, as UW is a public university of the state.  However, both of these issues can be dealt with appropriately if necessary.  These urinals have had large success in California as well as gained popularity worldwide.  It is time UW takes this step as well. 
Funding of this Odegaard Water-less urinal project would be roughly $20,000 for urinals and replaceable pieces for a year with the addition of installation fees, another $10,000-$20,000 (the possibility of having to redo pipeline that satisfy flush free urinals make this cost have such a large range).  Overall costs are subject to vary depending on the model used and installation prices.  This is a large funded project, but it has more benefits than just saving water.  Each flush costs money, so over time these urinals could pay themselves off plus more, including costs for replaceable pieces. In adding to how sustainable of a school it is, UW could benefit from tax reductions and rebates for taking actions to reduce water consumption, as appropriate to city policies. 

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Robert Chang
E-mail: 
rman2595@gmail.com
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

Roughly 50% of the water average American use at home comes from toilets.  It is an unavoidable act of water consumption, but we are looking to minimize that usage.  New technological advances are providing the world with water-efficient toilets capable of reducing water consumption while maintaining a level of cleanliness and sanitation.  Our grant project aims to integrate dual-flush technology at the women’s bathrooms at Odegaard Undergraduate Library.  Currently, the women’s toilet only has one flushing option at 1.6 gallons per flush.  What we want to introduce is the same 1.6-gallon per flush for solid waste with the addition of a 1.1-gallon per flush for liquid waste.  The Sloan EBV 550A Dual Flush Side Mount works as a sensor flushing system that will use a 1.1-gallon flush when the user has spent less than 90 seconds on the toilet and a 1.6-gallon flush for anything longer.  There are also buttons for manual flushing for either option. 

We are working with the UW Facilities Plant Services with Rich Dierck, Lance Karvonen, and Jeff Hnilo.  We will coordinate with Lynda Ekins, Odegaard Building Coordinator, to find the best times for installation.  Jeff Hnilo, UW Facilities and Services Plumbing Lead, will be assisting us throughout the project.   We will work to install the Sloan EBV 550A Dual Flush Side Mount ($242.64 per, which includes a discount percentage for orders over 20 items) to all 23 toilets in the women’s bathrooms.  This model simply replaces the flushing mechanism and will be a relatively simple procedure that will require one mounting kit per two toilets (12 total mounting kits at $34.95 per) (approximated installment fee: $3000).  Outreach and informing UW members and other users of Odegaard Library will be done by all campus emails, posters, and signs (budgeted at $300).

We will also be in contact with the City of Seattle: Seattle Public Utilities to search and find rebate options for the dual-flush toilets.  Because the dual-flush will be saving 0.5 gallons for every liquid waste flush (1.6 gallons for solid waste is the standard requirement), each toilet will be up for a $75-$150 rebate.  On top of that, Odegaard has the opportunity to save further funds from lower water consumption.  That number is subject to change until we see progress after the dual-flush mechanism has been installed.  Getting the rebate requires us to fill out a form for approval that will be reviewed and subject for rebate. 

In conclusion, the dual-flush technology has the potential to save considerable amounts of water annually.  The UW Tower recently had a project very similar to this and experienced significant water conservation and cost saving.  With the help of Jeff Hnilo, we are confident that we will be able to carry out this project in a timely and organized fashion.  

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$14 000
This funding request is a: 
Grant
Budget: 
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Sloan EBV 550A Dual-Flush Side Mount$242.64 23$5580.72-6000.00
Mounting kit$34.9512$419.40-500.00
Outreach supplies (signs/posters/etc.)$3001$300
Installation TeamTBD1approx $5500.00
Funds for error10-15% of total budget1$1700
Non-CSF Sources: 
Sustainability Impact: 
Water
Sustainability Challenge: 

We cannot live without water.  In fact, nothing can live without water.  Water conservation helps conserve our struggling environment, and every act of saving helps.  After all, consistent savings add up fast. 

Our dual-flush toilet project has the potential to save millions of gallons of water every year.  Currently, Odegaard Library uses 1.6-gallon flushes for all toilets.  While men have the option to use a sub-1-gallon flush urinal for liquid waste, women have no alternative to the 1.6-gallon flushing toilet.  The dual-flush technology will save half a gallon of water when used properly, and that will add up fast and will make a difference.  The installation of dual-flush is a simple procedure, as explained previously, and is a great opportunity for the University of Washington to continue to lead universities as a sustainable leader.  Water conservation needs to be a way of life, not just an option we consider from time to time. 

 

 

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

Water Conservation Impact:  Our project will be saving water.  More specifically, 0.5 gallons for when the toilets are being used for liquid waste.  Water savings can be seen after installment when new utility-water bills are compared to older utility-water bills.  This will give a good estimate of how much water is being saved as well as how much money is being saved.  We aim to install dual-flush technology at all 23 women's toilets, and because Odegaard has such high-traffic, expect to see a considerable amount of water saved.  

Mentality Impact: We want to address how our project can inspire people to act more sustainably.  The signs and posters act as more than just inforamative 'how to use' this, they are also a reminder that the user is saving water.  This is not only good for the person to know, but that individual may see that being sustainable can be simple.  We want to include other sustainable habits on our signs, posters, and emails so users can find other ways to add sustainable habits to their lifestyles.  

Education & Outreach: 

We want to use articles, all-campus emails, posters around and inside of Odegaard Library, and informative signs inside bathrooms to educate users on what this project is and how to use the new toilets.  

If possible, we would like to have an article published about the project.  We feel that this will accomplish two things.  Firstly, it will get the message out about the new dual-flush toilets.  Secondly, it can showcase how UW, CSF, and its members are taking action to conserve water and be sustainable overall. 

All-campus emails will be sent to all UW students, faculty, and staff with a short explanation of our project, why the dual-flush toilet is important for water conservation, and an explanation on how to operate the dual-flush toliet.  

For those who may not check their UW email or who do not attend the school, will be able to see our posters both inside and around Odegaard library containing similar information to the all-campus emails.  Just in case that those posters are missed by anyone, we will also have signs placed in the bathrooms and inside each stall holding each dual-flush toilet.  Both the poster and the sign will briefly explain the purpose of the dual-flush and how to operate them.  This process will use the $300 budget for supplies.  We also want the signs to be long-lasting or pernament.

The outreach methods (emails, posters, signs) will include something similar to this:  UW students, The Campus Sustainability Fund have introduced dual-flush toilets at Odegaard Library for the women's bathroom!  The new flushing technology will auto flush at a lower 1.1-gallon flush for liquid waste when being used for less than 90 seconds and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste when used for over 90 seconds.  There are also buttons for manual flushing where green is for the 1.1-gallon flush and silver is for the 1.6 gallon flush.  We want to remind you that this new installation is completely sanitary and complies with regulatory standards.  With this feature, you will be able to save millions of gallons of water every year!  (additional pieces will include images on how to use them, other ways to conserve water, statistics on how much water is saved)

The big idea is that we want to reinforce how students, and any users of these toilets, are saving water.  That little reminder can go a long way.  I always notice the number of how many water bottles have been saved when I refill my bottle at a water-fountain station.  These water-efficient toilets can do the same, thus letting students know that they are conserving with every flush.  As we outreach to teach students about the new toilet installments, we want to also provide examples of other water conservation examples.  Just a few tips or reminders that can help them lower their carbon footprint.  

Student Involvement: 

Vincent, Robert, and Jeff Hnilo will oversee all operations.

Jeff Hnilo, Plumbing Lead N.E. Zone Facilities Services, will help us purchase the necessary items (Sloan EBV 550A Dual-Flush Side Mount and Mounting Kits) to be installed and work with UW Facilities and Services to install the dual-flush toilets at a proper time.  We are working our idea with his recommendations to install dual-flush mechanisms at all women's bathrooms at Odegaard Library.  The installation is a simple process as all we are doing is replacing the flushing handle with the new Sloan EBV 550A model.  We will replace the existing toilet flush handle with a dual-flush mechanism and set to a 1.6 gallon flush for solid waste and a 1.1 gallon flush for liquid waste.  This is an improvement over the current 1.6 gallon flush for all flushes.  After purchasing we all will coordinate UW Facilities and Services have a UW affiliated workforce to install the new piece on all the toilets.  As Jeff will be supervising us, if this project experiences any substantial long-lasting issues, it will be a simple procedure to switch back to the previous flushing mechanism, as only the handle has been changed.  

Vincent and Robert will outreach to the UW communities and other Odegaard Library users.  We will send emails and have posters and signs around Odegaard to teach users about the dual-flush toilets for the women's bathrooms.  We will also use the outreach as a way to campaign for water conservation.  This will be explained in more detail in the ‘Education and Outreach’ section.  We will also be in contact with the City of Seattle to negotiate rebate deals for low-water consumption toilets to mitigate the cost of the project.  Obtaining a rebate will require us to fill out a form for the project with all specifications and outreaching to coordinators to make sure Odegaard is given the rebate.  

Timeline: 
TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Purchasing all necessary pieces4-5 weeksLate March-Mid April, 2017
Writing the All-campus email1-3 weeksMid March, 2017
Making outreach posters1-3 weeksMid March, 2017
Making outreach signs1-3 weeksMid March, 2017
Hiring a installation team4-5weeksLate March-Mid April, 2017
Supplementary Documents : 
Year Tag: 
Amount Awarded: 
$14,000
Potential Funding Reductions: 
If our project is not fully funded, we will make the project smaller by installing water-efficient toilets at less bathrooms at Odegaard. We will do our best with the budget given to us. However, we will want to renovate at least one full bathroom. We also want to reiterate that Jeff Hnilo will be helping us coordinate installation with UW installment teams. He has told us that because of the simplicity of the installation, adding the dual-flush technology will be a relatively simple project and not be very time consuming for UW installment teams. He supports the idea to install dual-flush technology at all women's toilets at Odegaard Library.
Project Longevity: 

The installment of the new dual-flush technology will last indefinitely, until they are replaced with better technology, or if there is some kind of malfunction and a replacement is needed. Toilets and toilet handles don't break too often, so we are confident that this can be considered a project that will have long lasting benefits.

Project status: 
In progress, accepting volunteers