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Workplace Water Efficiency. Quick tips to save water and money.

workplace water efficiencyThe summer months are upon us, and July’s heat and humidity are taking a toll…from droopy landscaping to cranked-up air conditioning units. It all adds up to a strong case for money saving water-efficiency practices in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial and institutional buildings account for 17 percent of the nation’s yearly water consumption. In addition, over the past decade, water and wastewater rates have risen “at a rate well above the consumer price index.” The EPA warns that as municipal water systems age, building owners can expect water costs to increase to offset the cost of replacement.

The good news? There are some simple, cost-effective measures you can employ to conserve water and save on operating costs in your commercial building. The three biggest culprits when it comes to water usage in office buildings are restrooms, landscaping and HVAC equipment.

RESTROOM UPGRADES

Did you know that something as simple as a leaky toilet can waste as much as 21,600 gallons of water per month? That can cost up to $2,100 per year. Toilet and urinal flushing typically account for one-third of a commercial building’s water consumption.

Inspecting restroom faucets and other fixtures for leaks is a simple, yet impactful way to make sure you aren’t flushing water (and money) down the drain. You can also replace bathroom fixtures with more efficient models, such as low-flow or ultra-low-flow models. Look for plumbing fixtures certified by the EPA’s WaterSense Program. Certified products use 20% less water without compromising performance and include water-saving toilets and high-efficiency faucets.

OUTDOOR WATER USE

We’ve all seen it: A sprinkler system aimed directly at pavement or going full tilt during a rainstorm. The fact is, landscaping water usage can account for 20% of your facility’s water consumption, making it a great area to target when looking to conserve water and lower your bill.

There are a number of practices you can employ to conserve water outdoors and save money in the process, including using native plants, reducing grassy areas, weather-based and seasonal irrigation schedules (adding a rain sensor on your irrigation system and watering less on cooler days) and installing WaterSense-certified irrigation products. Even something as simple as fitting your hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles and spreading mulch around landscaping can save water and reduce evaporation.

HVAC COOLING SYSTEMS

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, water used in HVAC cooling towers accounts for almost all of an HVAC system’s water consumption.

The fact is, all cooling towers lose water through evaporation, drift (water lost when water droplets are transported in exhaust air), and blowdown (water drained from cooling equipment to remove mineral build-up) and, therefore, consume a significant amount of water. Keep your cooling towers in good working condition through regular inspection and maintenance so your system operates at peak efficiency.

workplace water efficiency

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WaterSense program

Other ideas for conserving cooling tower water include investing in cooling towers that use recycled water, such as storm water and using cooling tower blowdown to water your landscaping.

Develop a Water Management Plan

It’s good practice to routinely monitor your facility’s water usage. If things seem off or you’re paying more than you anticipated paying, there’s a good chance you have efficiencies that can be corrected.

Develop a workplace water efficiency water management plan to cut down on water usage and trim your water bill. Because leaks are a major culprit, they should be one of the first things you look for. Check regularly for leaks and make repairs as quickly as possible. Swap your outdated fixtures for water-efficient ones. Adjust your landscape-maintenance routine based on seasonal and daily weather changes. A few minor adjustments can add up to major cost savings and help the environment in the process.


The Anderson Group knows small businesses. To inquire about commercial properties in The Anderson Group portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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