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Facilities News

Freeman Dining Hall Gets a Water-Saving Upgrade

Posted in: Sustainability

Freeman Dining Hall during meal time with students seated at tables
Freeman Dining Hall

As part of our ongoing efforts to replace older, less efficient equipment on campus with more efficient models, University Facilities upgraded the cooling equipment in the walk-in refrigerators and freezer at the Freeman Dining Hall in early February 2021.

Four condenser units were replaced – three in the walk-in refrigerators and one in the walk-in freezer. Two of the units were over 20 years old, but all of the units were what’s known as “once through water-cooled condensers” meaning that water was piped into the condenser and passed through the system a single time before going down the drain. As you can imagine, this used a considerable amount of water!

The new condensers are air-chilled units which are more efficient and will save a significant amount of water. In fact, the water savings alone will pay for the project cost in less than one year. The total annual cost of water for the four old condenser units was approximately $75,500 and the replacement was completed for a total project cost of $65,000.

University Facilities is excited to be able to perform these types of equipment upgrades and looks forward to completing more in the future.

How much water are we actually saving?

We’ll need to do some math to figure it out.

The Freezer

One condenser unit in the walk-in freezer used 480 gallons of water per hour with an average operation time of 16 hours per day for 365 days per year.*

480 x 16 x 365 = 2,803,200 gallons per year

The Refrigerator

One condenser unit in a walk-in refrigerator used 288 gallons of water per hour with an average operation time of 18 hours per day for 365 days per year.*

288 x 18 x 365 = 1,892,160 gallons per year


The Freeman Dining Hall has one freezer and three refrigerators, so

2,803,200 + (1,892,160 x 3) = 8,479,680 gallons of water per year.

To give you a better idea of how much water that is, it’s over 504,000 showers or almost 424,000 loads of laundry!**

*figures were obtained from the equipment’s manufacturer.

**at 2.1 gallons per minute per the average 8 minute shower (source) and 20 gallons per load (source).