Saving Money With a Water Conservation Program

Commercial buildings have a web of interconnected systems relying on water. Water is one of our most precious resources and yet conservation is an often overlooked aspect in whole-building design strategies.

Wasting moneyMost commercial facility managers struggle with managing its consumption, resulting in lots of wasted water. As water rates rise across the country, it’s an economically wise decision, as well as an environmentally conscious practice, to manage water usage.

The first step to embarking on a water conservation program is to establish a plan. But before you can establish a plan, you must consider where water is used within your building. Water conservation measures will vary based on the building type.

For example, hospitals use large amounts of water in mechanical systems, while restaurants use more water within their laundry and food service operations. And a sports complex will use a greater amount of water in its public toilets and irrigation systems.

Pinpointing the operations with the greatest water consumption helps to prioritize water conservation goals.

Here are some tips any commercial building manager can utilize to conserve water, according to Scott Kale, VP of Sales at WaterSignal:

  • Measure what you use, comparing each month’s water bill against bills from previous months and even years.
  • Look for leaks. One way you can test for a leak is by turning off the water when no one is in the building and reading the meter. Read the meter again after 15 minutes; if the meter has moved you may have a leak.
  • Use a program that monitors water usage in real-time and sends alerts about consumption and leaks. Such programs collect data and transmit results to a website portal where a facility manager can view consumption rates for the month, day, or within the last hour.
  • Inspect bathroom fixtures regularly. Replace high-use fixtures with lower use options such as waterless urinals and self-closing, infrared sensor fixtures.
  • Inspect your cooling tower for leaks, and install flow meters on the make-up and bleed-off lines to verify how much water is actually being used.
  • Tour the building and its surrounding property regularly, looking for wet spots or “alligatored” pavement, a sign of an underground leak.
  • When replacing fixtures choose products with the EPA WaterSense label.
  • Inform occupants about water conservation efforts, and educate them about what they can do to help conserve water.

For more water saving tactics, check out this article from the National Institute of Building Sciences, as well as these resources available from the EPA.

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