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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water-Saving Tips for Commercial Buildings

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

A row of stainless steel water faucets set in a grey brick wall, with one faucet emitting a few clear droplets of water. As a business owner, you can save money and increase sustainability with water-saving technology.

How to Reduce the Water Consumption of Your Business

As a business owner, you’re always on the hunt for ways to save money and increase sustainability. Your commercial building’s water consumption may not be the first thing you think of when contemplating money-saving strategies. However, when you integrate water-saving technology with your daily business operations, you’ll experience several benefits, including:

  • Making your business more efficient and sustainable.
  • Lowering utility bills.
  • Finding it easier to prepare for natural disasters.
  • Lowering your risk for water damage or mold.

Offices use about 9% of the total water utilized by commercial and institutional buildings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Most of the water in offices is used for heating and cooling, landscaping, and restrooms. 

For the sustainability of the world’s water supply, it’s crucial that commercial building owners address water consumption issues and implement water-saving technology. Review the information below to learn more about the technology you can invest in to make your business more water-efficient.

Invest in Commercial Water-Saving Technology

Commercial buildings are known for using a lot of water, but there are several technologies and ways to make them more efficient. Implementing one or more of the following technologies will help your business use less water.

Commercial Water-Saving Devices and Technology

When you install a sensor that keeps track of water usage, you’ll have a better idea of when and where your building is consuming the most water. A water pressure regulator is also helpful because it records the current water pressure within your plumbing system. 

High water pressure wastes water and can damage your pipes. A burst pipe may result in flooding, which requires the assistance of a commercial restoration company. If it’s not addressed properly, dangerous mold may grow, requiring mold removal services. Ensuring your pressure is correct and efficient saves you from these threats and reduces your utility bill. Additionally, even a step as simple as installing low-flow faucets and toilets can cut water use in half, or even more.

Landscaping irrigation is usually the culprit for much of the water usage in commercial buildings — as much as half of all irrigation water may be wasted due to evaporation, runoff, or inefficient watering practices. Timed irrigation systems can be set to turn on at night when the sun won’t evaporate the water off the grass. 

You should also consider installing a rain sensor in your irrigation system. If the system senses that it recently rained, it’ll skip a watering cycle since the grass already received the moisture it needed.

Grey Water Systems for Commercial Buildings

Clean water pumps into a commercial building and after it’s used, it’s released into the sewage system. The water that’s released is classified as black water, which is considered unsanitary and could be toxic without treatment. 

Greywater is the wastewater used in sinks, showers, or washing machines. It’s also usually released to a water treatment plant after use and although it’s not technically sanitary, it carries less risk of being toxic or contaminated. Since greywater isn’t as unhealthy or dangerous, commercial buildings may adapt their own greywater recycling systems that allow them to reclaim the water so it can be used again. 

When a greywater system is installed, it separates this water from black water. Then, it uses a thorough treatment and filtering system that may include sand filters, aeration, and pressure filtration. The clean water is placed in a storage tank and released for usage.

You must consult with an engineer and your local water authority before installing a greywater system. While this system is an expensive investment, reclaiming greywater is an efficient way to save money and reduce water consumption substantially over time.

Water-Saving Plumbing

If you’re focused on reducing water consumption, there are several water-saving plumbing options available. Be sure you’re paying close attention to plumbing leaks and repairing damages promptly. This alleviates the costs of repair, such as mold remediation after sustaining water damages. You could also consider:

  • Plumbing insulation: Pipes that aren’t insulated can take a while to heat water. When a user turns on the hot water tap, they’ll need to let the water run until it finally reaches the desired temperature. With insulation, the time you wait for the water to get hot is sufficiently reduced, which also reduces needless water waste.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures: You can install low-flow plumbing fixtures to sinks and toilets without installing an entirely new plumbing system in the building. With low-flow fixtures, less water flows through the fixtures when they’re turned on, cutting down on consumption and making workers more mindful of water usage.
  • Energy Star appliances: If you have a dishwasher, washer, or other appliances, consider replacing them with upgraded Energy Star models. These appliances are rated to use less water during operation without sacrificing performance.

Additionally, consider replacing your aerators or installing water-free urinals to reduce water consumption in your commercial building.

Harvesting Rainwater

Most of the time, stormwater causes damage because it is associated with flooding. However, if you have the capacity to install a rainwater harvesting system, you can use this stormwater as landscape irrigation. Consult with an engineer and your local water authority to decide if the costs of system implementation are worth the collection in your area. 

Depending on the size and layout of your commercial building, you may be able to install large barrels that collect rainwater. The water usually needs to be filtered for oils before it can be used for irrigation or other purposes. Plant low-water plants so your system effectively uses the rainwater that’s been collected. 

Boiler Blowdowns and Cooling Towers

During the boiler blowdown process, water is removed from the boiler to minimize corrosion and scale. With automated blowdown controls, the system slows down the rate of blowdown to ensure water isn’t wasted. An automated blowdown process also prevents fluctuations in the frequency of blowdowns so the amount of water used is better controlled.

A cooling tower removes heat from a commercial building’s air conditioning unit by evaporating condenser water. To prevent your cooling tower from wasting water, consider installing a tower that uses stormwater instead of freshwater. Ensure your cooling tower is well-maintained and in good condition so it doesn’t needlessly wastewater throughout the process.

Although commercial buildings are synonymous with high water consumption, there are ways to ensure your business isn’t wasting this precious resource. When you implement one or more of these water-saving technologies, you’ll save money and invest in the sustainability of your building.

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