Workplace Water Efficiency: Quick Tips to Save Water and Money

If your office water bill has been especially high lately, you are not alone. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that over the past decade, water rates have risen “at a rate well above the consumer price index.”

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 of 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 1/3 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 – which use 20% less water without compromising performance!

Outdoor Water Use

We’ve all seen it: A sprinkler system aimed directly at pavement or going full tilt during a rainstorm. Landscaping water usage can account for 20% of your facility’s water consumption, making it a target area 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, use 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

Investing in cooling towers that use recycled water, such as storm water, and using cooling tower blowdown to water your landscaping are other great ways to conserve water.

Develop a Water Management Plan

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

Develop a workplace water management plan to cut down on water usage and trim your water bill. 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.

Want more ideas for sprucing up your office space place? Contact Susan Touhey at The Anderson Group for tips and tools to improve your office space design, productivity and efficiency. Call 518-458-7726 or email stouhey@andersonoffices.com.

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