Did you know that water use and energy use in buildings are linked? In most cases, electricity or gas is used to heat water, so the less hot water you use, the less energy needed. In addition, your water company uses energy to purify and pump water to your facility, as well as in the treatment of sewage, so part of your water and sewage bill is really an energy bill. In other words, saving water reduces your water and energy bills!
The first step to saving is tracking your water use in Portfolio Manager. Once you have a handle on your water use, EPA’s WaterSense program helps you start saving. Check out the WaterSense website to find certified products and best management practices for many types of commercial buildings. Also, the new EPA 1 – 100 water score is available for existing multifamily properties with 20 or more units. Find out more about the water score for multifamily housing.
- Repair leaking pipes, fixtures, and seals. Small leaks add up to many gallons of water and dollars wasted each month.
- Use WaterSense labeled showerheads, toilets, and urinals to save water.
- Install water-efficient faucets and controls that turn off the water flow automatically.
- If buying a new water heater or boiler, always buy the most efficient model possible. In areas of infrequent use, consider "tankless" water heaters to reduce "standby" storage costs and waste.
- In commercial kitchens, replace old, inefficient equipment such as pre-rinse spray valves, ice machines, dishwashers, steam cookers, and combination ovens with WaterSense labeled and ENERGY STAR certified models.
- Depending on the function of your facility, use ENERGY STAR certified horizontal axis washing machines.
- When landscaping, practice xeriscaping by using drought-tolerant plants and plants native to your climate that require minimal watering and possess better pest resistance. If local code allows, consider diverting gray water for irrigation.
- Have an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program install, maintain, or audit your irrigation system to ensure it is operating efficiently while using less water. Install a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller, which can adjust watering schedules to account for local weather and landscape conditions.
- For additional tips on managing and reducing facility water use, review WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities.