Science - March 2, 2006

‘Green’ students shower longest

Students living in Droevendaal and the Bornsesteeg shower considerably more than others. They use 56 litres of water per person daily, 16 litres more than the average person in Wageningen and 13 more than the nationwide average. MSc students in Urban Environmental Management carried out a survey.

The students examined water and energy use, and waste flows in the two student complexes and in the neighbourhood Wageningen Hoog. They carried out the assignment for the municipality of Wageningen and in cooperation with the accommodation bureau SSHW. The research was supervised by the Urban Environment Group, an interdisciplinary team of representatives from Alterra and various chair groups.

The Environmental Sciences students think it will be difficult to persuade students at Droevendaal and the Bornsesteeg to shower less frequently or for a shorter time. Their advice is therefore that SSHW should install water-saving showerheads. At present only half of the showerheads at Droevendaal and a third in the Bornsesteeg are of the water-saving kind.

In addition the students mention the use of rainwater for the WC or washing machine. By placing a rain barrel on the roof you create pressure so the water does not have to be pumped. There are already a couple of rainwater reservoirs at Droevendaal.

More rainwater could be collected in Wageningen Hoog according to the students. Sixty-five percent of those interviewed in this neighbourhood wash their car at home, and of these only two percent use rainwater.

The students’ environmental survey also covered the demolition of the Rijnsteeg apartment block. Katleen de Flander of the Urban Environment Group: ‘Of course there are already studies on the re-use of construction materials, but here the idea was to make a local-level inventory of exactly what a building like this contains, from linoleum to ceramics. The owner would then be able to set conditions for the demolition work. At present tenders are only compared on the basis of price.’ / HB

See www.ue.wur.nl

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