Sustainability Update: Public Restroom Aerators

CUMC Saves Water by Installing Sink Aerators

February 6, 2013

While it seems a small act, installation of aerators to reduce water flow while maintaining pressure and water quality can make a large difference in consumption. Many times, when sustainability efforts are pursued, recycling and energy efficiency tend to be a primary focus, but water is actually an important resource that needs to be addressed as well. CUMC’s installation of aerators is a step in the right direction to reduce water consumption across the campus. Aerators were installed in all public restrooms across the research buildings, over 1,000 aerators were installed. Hammer and Allan Rosenfield building, which have some of the highest public sink numbers, averaged 10,000 gallons in savings per month over 1 year of measurement and verification.

An aerator is located at the top of a faucet. Without an aerator, typically, water would flow out in one big stream versus being spread into many little streams. The spread of water into many little streams and the introduction of air to create this volume of streams is how water consumption can be reduced. Older faucets can flow of over 2 gallons per minute, but WaterSense by the Environmental Protection Agency has worked to set better standards of performance.

While we are working to reduce our water consumption, you can help us as well by reporting leaks. To put this in perspective, a faucet that drips at 1 small drip per minute can waste about 34 gallons of water per year. This multiplied across the hundreds of faucets across the university begins accumulate quickly for both resource waste and financial impact. Please report any leaks to 212-305-HELP extension 3.

Please direct questions and/or comments to


Energy & Sustainability