- ELECTRICIAN »
- Sr. Building Systems Engineer »
- Construction engineer, U.S. Dept. of State »
- Senior Director of Facilities »
Water Efficiency: Increasing Priority
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: New Codes, Green Building Rating Systems Influence Restroom Equipment SelectionPt. 3: How To Make Landscaping and Irrigation Water EfficientPt. 4: Measuring Water Use and Establishing a Water-use Baseline
The bottom line is that based on inflation factors, water and wastewater costs are increasing faster than the cost of living index, natural gas cost index, electric power cost index and even the "price of oil" index. Only garbage and cable television costs are rising at a similar pace. Between 2001 and 2010, water and sewer rates went up 2.3 times faster than the consumer price index (CPI).
A typical city charges about $8.00 per thousand gallons. If water and wastewater costs continue to inflate at the rates of the last 10 years, this same water will cost over $13 per thousand gallons - and this rate is increasing even faster as infrastructure and energy and chemical costs rise. So what does the mean to the bottom line?
Assume a restaurant where the toilet is flushed 75 flushes a day, 365 days a year for the toilet and 1.2 showers per day for a hotel room. If the toilet uses 5.0 gallons a flush (gpf), that will equal about 136,875 gallons a year. If that toilet is replaced with a WaterSense recommended 1.28 gallons per flush fixture, the use would drop to 35,040 gallons a year, a savings of 101,835 gallons a year. If water and wastewater combined cost $8.00 per thousand gallons ($5.98 per CCF), the savings would be $814 per year. If the old toilet only used 3.5 gallons per flush, the savings would still be $486 per year. This is less than a one year payback. In ten years, the annual savings would be an incredible $1,330 per year for the 5 gpf toilet and $794 per year for the 3.5 gpf toilet if replaced with a 1.28 gpf model! And that is just one toilet!