Sustainability research

Hot water reduction study

The study evaluates how to best reduce carbon emissions and energy use by turning off non-essential hot water on campus while maintaining or improving health and hygiene. 

Study goal: To shut off the hot water used for handwashing in four Tempe campus building restrooms: Center Point, Computing Commons, McCord Hall and Student Services. 

Study duration: January to March 2018. Both pre-and post-study online surveys and focus groups will be conducted from which to evaluate participants’ response and knowledge. Additionally, energy and carbon emissions savings will be calculated as part of the analysis. 

The basis of this study is health professionals now recommend that sanitary handwashing can best be accomplished by using cold water and soap for a 20-second wash, followed by complete drying. Often, hot water accelerates the development of Dermatitis and requires the unnecessary use of energy and associated carbon emissions.

ASU University Sustainability Practices joined a hot water-use research project in early 2017 with King’s College London and Dublin City University.