Plumbing: Water-Conservation Strategies

  June 20, 2012

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, water conservation strategies.

Maintenance and engineering managers already have begun to master the ins and outs of energy efficiency. But energy isn't the last word when it comes saving resources and operating a greener facility. Water efficiency is quickly growing as a green building and operations strategy.

A comprehensive water-management plan is the key to using water efficiently. Managers can start by gathering stakeholders in the organization to develop a list of water-management goals, incorporate water efficiency into long-term facility operation objectives, and address the resources necessary to achieve water-saving goals.

Understanding the price of water and wastewater is important when evaluating project cost effectiveness. Managers can determine costs by checking water bills and contacting utilities. They can collect data from waters meters — or submeters, if available — to calculate the facility's total annual water use and identify seasonal trends or abnormalities.

Restrooms, locker rooms, and other areas with plumbing fixtures offer obvious options for water efficiency. Besides regularly checking these areas for leaks, retrofitting restrooms with more water'efficient plumbing fixtures can produce significant water savings, as well as reduced energy costs from heating the water for sinks and showers.

WaterSense labeled models of tank'type toilets, flush urinals, and showerheads are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water, and they perform as well as or better than standard models.

WaterSense labeled faucets and accessories use about 30 percent less water than conventional lavatory faucets. As with all WaterSense labeled products, each model is certified to meet strict criteria for efficiency and performance. A 100'employee office building that installs WaterSense labeled flushing urinals could save 26,000 gallons of water per year based on an average of two flushes per day.


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