Plumbing & Water Conservation

plumbing, green   June 7, 2010

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is plumbing and water conservation.

Restrooms have become focal points for many institutional and commercial organizations seeking to become more environmentally responsible. The efforts focus on the specification and maintenance of key elements within restrooms, including plumbing fixtures. Since many budgets are tighter and demands for results are louder, managers need to act as quickly as possible to improve the sustainability of restrooms and generate savings for organizations.

By addressing plumbing fixtures and taking steps to improve the productivity of front-line technicians, managers can end up with restrooms that offer both greater sustainability and lower costs. Here are steps managers can take immediately

• Measure water use for restroom fixtures, and develop a conservation plan. Check for, locate, and fix leaks in faucets, showerheads, and toilet and urinal flush valves.

• Monitor for potential losses by replacing worn O-rings and washers before they start to leak water. This tactic is a proven way to lower water use and waste costs.

• Replace older, high-volume, timed-cycle flush valves and high-volume taps with newer, low-flow valves. Make sure sensor valves respond only to appropriate movements and solenoids function properly. Inserting restrictors or replacing valves with return on investment in mind can lock savings into the system.

• When upgrading fixtures, convert to fixtures with copper pipe extensions and a brass coupling nut. Technicians can install these extensions more quickly because they do not require a special wrench to reach up under the back of the sink.

• Check to see if hot-water temperatures at the heaters are set properly. If the temperature is set at 140 degrees, adjusting it to 120 degrees can result in large electricity savings.

• Finally, Insulate hot-water lines or move the heater closer to the point of use. This step can minimize heat loss and save water and chemicals.


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