How much money is leaking out of pipes and running toilets in your office buildings? Studies have shown that most buildings, businesses included, use more water than they need to use – and much of that “usage” is actually leakage. Water sustainability is a global issue, and it is a significant area of concern, however, it isn’t just for the purposes of environmental activism that sustainable practices are implemented. Improper water consumption is costly, and businesses are often shocked at how much money is being washed down the drain.
Leaks Account for More than 25 Percent of Water Consumption
Where is your water going? While most water usage is necessary for your business to operate, more than one-fourth of water usage is actually waste. While usage will vary depending on the type of business and the facility, here’s a typical breakdown:
- Amenities 31% (toilets, kitchenettes, showers)
- Cooling towers 24% (in those sites that use cooling towers)
- Waste and leaks 26% (taps, urinals, piping, valves, etc…)
- Irrigation 12% (landscaping, irrigation – will vary by site)
- Other 7% (cleaning, car wash)
Water Management Plans Boost Efficiency
The main barrier to boosting water efficiency is that many businesses simply don’t realize how much water is being wasted. A water management plan helps businesses to pinpoint how and when water is being utilized. You can’t fix what you don’t know is wrong, so by identifying where water is used – and how and when – you can pinpoint where it’s being wasted. With a water management plan, businesses and property managers can develop useful water KPIs that enable effective tracking of water use over time, locations and geographies.
The KPIs of Water Usage
How can you use data to improve water efficiency? To more efficiently manage water, we must know where it’s being used.
- What buildings use water and how much?
- What AC systems are using too much water?
- Which kitchens, lawns, and other areas?
In addition to knowing where water is being used, it’s necessary to know when. On which days of the week is most water being used? Are there spikes in usage during specific times or seasons?
As you begin to learn more about where and how water is being used, you can use comparative metrics to begin making changes to your water management. Some common comparative metrics measure
- Consumption per building
- Consumption per person
- Consumption per square foot of office space
Once you’ve established your KPIs and have the data, you’ll be able to establish usage benchmarks which you can then use to start improving water usage. For example, if you implement a new water savings measure in one building, you can compare the results to another building. You’ll be able to measure how well water savings measures are working and begin the process of optimizing water use whenever the opportunity arises.
Infrastructure Upgrades Are Well Worth the Cost
Fixing problems in cooling towers, replacing amenities (such as leaky toilets) and optimally configuring heavy water users such as irrigation systems throughout your facility can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Water savings of 25 to 30 percent are common when proper water management techniques are implemented. Proactive measures have long-term benefits to the environment and to your organization’s budget. Preventative measures and proper maintenance also reduce leaks, and quick correction is the best way to avoid further issues that are both costly and wasteful.
Every building will have a different area of priority, and it will take careful analysis to determine how and where you can boost your water efficiency and reduce costs. By implementing water intelligence tools, like WINT, businesses can better understand which practices are contributing to waste and how water can be preserved. Leaks and other inefficiencies are inconvenient, but IoT-enabled devices make water management simple. Rather than waste water and time, act now to cut water spending and reduce your environmental footprint.