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Management Insight

Part 1: Low-Hanging Fruit: Energy Savings Made Easy

Part 2: HVAC Systems, Electric Motors Consume Large Amounts of Energy||14256

Part 3: Identifying and Repairing Leaks Solves Major Problems||14257

Low-Hanging Fruit: Energy Savings Made Easy

By Andrew Gager August 2013 - Facility Maintenance Decisions Columnists

As organizations of all kinds pay greater attention to green issues and the role of facilities in such discussions, maintenance and engineering managers are under growing pressure to reduce energy costs.

But the challenge requires managers and their front-line workers to keep a closer watch for waste. Where are the major areas in which managers can have an immediate impact on the condition, comfort, and energy efficiency of institutional and commercial facilities? Inspecting and auditing the following areas and systems can help managers and their staffs identify potential problems that offer the greatest opportunities for savings.

Plumbing And Piping

Water is a valuable and finite resource that we seem to take for granted. How many times have you gone into a restroom and found that someone has left a faucet running? How often have you seen an irrigation system with one of the heads sputtering rather than spraying? The accompanying chart offers data on costs associated with not fixing plumbing and piping leaks.

Water Waste: Associated Costs

Size of leak Gallons
wasted per
day (60 psi)
Water sewer
cost per cost
per day @
1.2 cents
per gallon
Gallons of
water per
Water sewer
cost per week
wasted per
cost per
1/16 inch 360 $4.32 2,250 $30 10,800 $130
1/8 inch 3,096 $37.15 21,672 $260 92,880 $1,115
3/16 inch 8,424 $101.20 58,968 $708 252,720 $3,032
1/4 inch 14,952 $180.00 104,664 $1,255 448,560 $5,384



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends the following products and practices that can provide an immediate return on the investment for facilities:

Low-flush fixtures. Toilets, showers and faucets represent two-thirds of all indoor water use. More than 4.8 billion gallons of water is flushed down toilets each day in the United States.

Recycling. Water recycling involves the use of wastewater or reclaimed water from one application for another application such as landscape watering.

Xeriscaping. This practice emphasizes the selection of plants in ways that conserve water.


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