Ways to Better Manage Water Use in Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings typically use a significant amount of water in the normal course of business. For building owners and managers who are interested in implementing some water conservation techniques, here are some ways to manage water use in a commercial context while still providing plenty of water for all of the activities that occur within the building.
Monitoring and Education
Monitoring of water use, and an effective program of education for building occupants and visitors, can form the first important component of a program to better manage water use in a commercial facility. Some of the ways to make this happen include:
- Metering and submetering: Metering gives you the chance to track and identify all of the water use that occurs in the building. Metering measures the total amount of water coming into the facility, while submetering tracks water use for particular purposes or tenants.
- Leak detection and repair: Water leaks can be a significant source of wasted water in any facility and result in the loss of hundreds of gallons of water per day. Hidden leaks are even worse, since they continue to waste water until they are discovered and fixed. Working to keep track of water leaks, and repairing them immediately when found, can help you effectively manage water use in a commercial building.
- Education: Establish your water conservation procedures and make sure that the occupants of your building are thoroughly informed of these procedures. Educate tenants and visitors on what is expected of them as far as water use and where they should expect to draw the line before use becomes overuse. Use of Water in
Water is a vital component of sanitation and health in a commercial facility. In fact, sanitation is one of the largest single areas of water use in the building. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that water used in restrooms and laundry facilities can account for 50 percent or more of the water use in a commercial building. The control of water use in the context of sanitation will often depend on the kinds of fixtures that have been installed for use by tenants and visitors.
- Toilets: Include low-flow toilet fixtures that use less water to accomplish effective waste removal and sanitation. Instead of tank-style toilets, install fixtures with flushometer valves.
- Urinals: Low-flow urinals should also be installed in your commercial fixtures. Waterless urinals are available that use no water at all but are very effective at handling waste.
- Faucets: Another area where low-flow fixtures can be applied is in faucets. Low-flow aerators provide enough water for hand washing or other tasks without waste. Automatic sensors can be included that turn water on when someone puts their hands under the faucet and shuts the water off when they take their hands away.
Outdoor Water Use
Many facilities have significant levels of water use in outdoor applications, such as in maintaining landscaping and lawns. While luxurious greenery is certainly beautiful, it requires a lot of water to keep it that way. Consider limiting water use for landscaping and irrigation; in many cases, landscape features can be kept in perfect condition with less water. Consider imposing limitations on water use by tenants for tasks such as vehicle washing. This is particularly important if there are water shortages or similar problems in your geographical area.
Mechanical Systems Mechanical systems such as chillers, boilers, cooling towers and similar components of HVAC systems will need a regular supply of water to function properly. Look into techniques for reusing water in these systems, or look into eliminating large consumers of water such as single-pass cooling systems. Keep water-based systems properly maintained to ensure efficient and effective performance.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on how to manage water use, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!