From The Greeley Tribune (Trevor Reid):
After representatives of an annual environmental contest spoke at Greeley Central High School in 2019, sophomore Jorge Rubio started looking around for opportunities to reduce water waste.
When he went to wash his hands in a restroom at the school, the answer hit him.
“So much water was coming out,” Jorge said. “We do not need this much water to wash our hands.”
Jorge, 16, set out to replace his school’s water faucets, which use 3.5 gallons per minute. That’s more than twice the maximum volume of water per minute allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Faucets that qualify for the WaterSense marker use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute.
Jorge took his idea to his chemistry teacher, Amy Bekins, who supported it and gave Jorge some advice on how to proceed. They met with the building manager and district officials who would install the new faucets. Jorge went to home improvement stores and began researching faucets.
Caring for Our Watersheds is an annual environmental contest challenging students to find ways to care for their local water resources. The contest is sponsored by Nutrien, an agricultural producer and distributor with a location in Loveland. The individual or team whose project wins first place is awarded $1,000 for their school.
Limited by that $1,000, Jorge began by looking at replacing the faucets on the first floor of the school. He estimated they would save 30,000 gallons of water per year by changing out the faucets on the first floor. After submitting his proposal, Jorge’s project was selected as a top 10 finalist out of 491 projects from 650 students in northern Colorado.
Before he knew he was selected as a finalist, Jorge started dreaming a little bigger. He decided he wanted to replace faucets for all three floors.
Aimee Nance, Jorge’s seminar teacher and a marketing teacher at Greeley Central, offered help to find creative funding opportunities for the project’s expansion. Whether that means working with local businesses or crowdfunding, Nance told Jorge it never hurts to ask for help…
Jorge has started a GoFundMe with a $1,000 goal to fund replacing the faucets on the second and third floors of the school. He hopes to have the project implemented by the end of March before going in front of judges in May.