What’s your water management strategy?
Water management doesn’t always get its due. Urgent priorities – especially those related to keeping everyone in your commercial spaces safe and healthy – will always come first. However, taking time to plan and implement water-conserving measures has the potential to save money and natural resources.
With workers starting their return to offices, this is a great time of year to review water usage in your commercial spaces and improve conservation efforts. Most importantly, make sure you work with the right commercial cleaning team to assess and upgrade your water-use policies and equipment.
Why conserve water?
We’ll start with the most obvious reason: clean water is a finite resource, and we should all take steps to preserve it. It’s just the right thing to do.
That’s a long-term view, but there are near-term benefits for property owners and managers, too.
For instance, managers always feel the pressure of budget constraints, and COVID-19 has made finances even more challenging. Cost-saving measures that might have been considered “nice to have” two years ago are now squarely at the forefront for commercial spaces of all sizes.
At the same time, water and wastewater costs have risen steadily over the past decade, even ahead of the consumer price index. Reduced water use translates directly to reduced spending.
In addition, today’s communities are more aware and focused on environmental issues. As prospective tenants, employees, and customers express more interest in robust sustainability measures, that will include sustainable water use.
So, whether in terms of attracting workers or buffering the budget, water conservation has real benefits for property owners and managers.
How do commercial properties use water?
Let’s separate water use into three main “buckets”:
Domestic water use basically keeps commercial facilities clean and sanitary. This includes water for restrooms, showers, kitchens, cafeterias, and laundry.
Landscaping water use is pretty self-explanatory. Green spaces require regular watering, and decorative fountains or reflecting pools can create a beautiful, welcoming space.
Finally, mechanical use includes water required to keep HVAC systems and other “back of house” operations running smoothly.
How do commercial properties use water?
It’s probably not surprising that restrooms and other domestic uses consume the most water. Second but still significant, is landscaping, including water features that can give your commercial space that “Zen-like” quality.
It’s the outputs we might not see, however, that are the real culprits: leaks, evaporation, and wastewater.
Left undiscovered and unrepaired, a leak can waste major amounts of water – in addition to possibly damaging structures or equipment near the leak. In buildings that rely on evaporative cooling, that evaporation can be a significant factor as well. And wastewater? Without a water reuse plan in place, commercial properties have no way to recoup this potential resource.
How can commercial spaces save water?
The foundation of a water conservation program rests with your organization’s broader water management plan, which will include water safety (to mitigate the risk of Legionella, for instance), flow diagrams, inspections and sampling plans, as well as conservation measures.
Build out your water conservation program by identifying three things:
- Current water consumption: how much and from where
- Conservation goals, measured in gallons per month or dollars saved
- Strategies to achieve these goals
There are tons of options, ranging from easy and inexpensive to more complex and with higher up-front costs. Consider any of these water conservation moves:
Little or no up-front investment:
- Promote water-efficient practices among workers
- Ensure regular facilities inspections are done to identify and repair leaks
- Minimize evaporation by watering landscaping at night
- Monitor timed sprinklers to avoid “double duty” on rainy days
- Ensure any automatic sensors on toilets and faucets are functioning as intended
- Upgrade to water-efficient toilets, shower heads, faucets, and urinals
- Switch from drinking fountains or bottled water vending machines to filling stations for reusable water bottles
- Evaluate and upgrade food service equipment such as dishwashers
- Install drought-resistant landscaping and plants to create a beautiful environment with less water
- Install water-efficient irrigation and sprinkler systems
- Make cooling towers and boilers more efficient by using alternative water sources, such as captured rainwater or air handler condensate
- Consider installing a water reuse system (some public spaces adopting onsite water reuse have reported up to 95 percent reductions in wastewater discharges)
Work with the right commercial cleaning team
Want to know more about creating a water conservation program for your commercial space? Contact us at [email protected].
The illustrations, instructions, and principles contained in this website are general in scope and for marketing purposes. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer activities, implementing any recommended measures, or identifying all potential hazards.