Utility Efficiency: Water Conservation
While it’s easy to recognize the environmental benefits of reducing energy consumption, it can be harder to grasp the value of water because it covers 75% of the earth. However, less than 1% of it is fresh water. Furthermore, municipal water goes through a treatment process that is energy intensive and uses harmful chemicals.
COMPLETE THE FIRST four TASKS AND AT LEAST ONE MORE FROM LIST BELOW AND LET US KNOW WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED:
Insulate Water Heaters, Storage Tanks and Hot Water Pipes
Refer to your manufactures recommendations when insulating your electric hot water storage tank. Make sure to not cover the thermostat. The first 6 feet from the connection at the heater, of hot and cold water pipes, should also be insulated. A good practice is to drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions. Here are some tips.
Redirect Downspouts Towards Landscaped Areas
If the topography of your site permits, direct downspouts toward landscaped areas so that plants can receive the water. This reduces the amount of stormwater runoff into storm drains and reduces the amount of water needed for irrigation. Directing water away from buildings also helps to prevent water damage to the structure. Preferred Providers that can help you achieve this:
LOW FLOW TOILETS & URINALS
Low flow toilets save water and function just as well if not better than conventional toilets. The organization Maximum Performance (MaP) rates the performance of all toilets and is a good source for determining which toilet or urinal is best for your application. It is also recommended that waterless urinals always be down-pipe from a water-using fixture to help wash the uric acid from the pipes. This preserves the integrity of the pipes and keeps down odors. Low Flow toilets are those labeled by the EPA’s WaterSense program.
RETROFIT FIXTURES WITH WATER DISPLACEMENT BAG OR DUAL FLUSH ADAPT
If you do not operate out of a facility with low flow toilets and waterless urinals and are unable to replace existing fixtures you can apply water saving devices such as water displacement bags and dual flush converts. These products modify existing fixtures to reduce water consumption and range from $30 to $100. Consult with your local hardware store or plumbing supply store for availability.
Complete one more task either from the options below or custom solutions for your business.
Adjust irrigation/watering schedules to match the seasonal weather patterns of the Chattanooga area. Rain and moisture sensors can automate the process and ensure that sprinklers don't turn on when it’s raining or when the soil is at optimal moisture content already. Rain sensors that connect to a preexisting irrigation control system are inexpensive and readily available.
Companies should also consider installing drip irrigation systems in lieu of spray heads for the right landscaping applications. Drip irrigation systems release water on or under the ground, which drastically reduces the amount of water that evaporates before reaching the plants. Drip irrigation kits are inexpensive and readily available. Consult your local landscaping contractor for further information.
Preferred Providers that can help you achieve this:
Eliminate Bottled Water
Provide a water cooler and encourage staff to use re-usable cups and water bottles. Water cooler varieties can range from basic room temperature water to on demand UV filtered hot and cold water. Alternatively, install a water filtration device on the primary faucets your staff uses for drinking water. Bottled water should only be kept for guests or traveling purposes if you deem it necessary.
Install Low Flow Aerators, Faucet Sensors, Shower Heads
It is easy to install low flow aerators on most faucets, and they can reduce water consumption for each fixture by up to 50% and are inexpensive. You may already have an aerator on your faucet. To check, look on the side of the faucet – hopefully it will read a number with units of gpm (gallons per minute). Low flow faucet aerators are those rated between 0.5 – 1.5 gpm. Low flow showerheads are rated at 1.5 gpm. Install aerators or sensor faucets at all fixtures and showerheads.