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Chesswood Middle School is an existing mixed school with 480 pupils and 43 staff.


The school was fitted with water saving features. This was part of a Southern Water, West Sussex County Council and Environment Agency initiative to measure water savings arising from new types of equipment, and the financial paybacks.

An audit of existing water using facilities and fittings was undertaken. Urinals, toilets and taps were the largest water users. The adopted water saving measures are detailed below.

Passive infrared urinal controls: these detect people entering the washroom and flush 20 minutes after the first person has used the urinals. Water savings of 68%.

Retrofit push taps in washrooms: only the top part of the taps was changed, incurring less cost than standard push taps. Such taps have an in-built flow restrictor so that flow rate and duration can be adjusted by the filter. Water savings of 13%

Flow restricting valves: fitted to pipes supplying classroom taps and adjusted to provide the required flow of water. Water savings too small to be detected

Cistern displacement devices: a small bag with water-retaining polymer inside was dropped into the toilet cistern. The polymer absorbs water, reducing each flush by 1 litre. Water savings of 3.5-6.4%  

Water butts: fitted to down pipes to collect rainwater from roof areas and used for watering garden plants

Before adopting these measures, water consumption in the school was 40% above the County benchmark figure (4000 litres/pupil/year). Following the introduction of these measures, yearly consumption went down by 73%, a reduction in bills of approximately £3,200.

During a full school day, water consumption dropped by 60% (from 8746 litres to 3420 litres). Consumption per pupil per year is 1520 litres, well below the County benchmark.

The cost effective measures set an example that other schools can adopt easily.

Project team Southern Water West Sussex County Council Environment Agency  

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