Water is a precious commodity, necessary to not only human life but manufacturing processes, construction and daily business. For many companies, small and large, the water bill is one of the largest monthly expenditures, accounting for hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars in business costs. Conserving water can help a business be more environmentally friendly, while also helping to cut costs thus improving the bottom line. Following are seven tips for embarking on water conservation efforts in your business or organization.
1) Go green by making a commitment to water conservation.
To get true results you need to make a commitment. Consider adding water conservation and other sustainable business practices to your company’s value statement. Make it part of your brand identify. Also, appoint a champion, a single person who is responsible for initiating conservation efforts and monitoring the results.
2) Do your research.
Take some time to do a little research. Appoint a person or small team to take a look at where your company uses water. Encourage them to view your company practices with an honest eye, looking at the use of water by personnel inside and outside the building, storm water management, and the use of water in maintenance or production. Next, conduct a little research on the cost of this water usage; be sure you know how much water costs you. Additionally, research various ways that your company can save water, learning some specific options for reducing water costs.
3) Check your plumbing systems for leaks.
One of the most unnecessary, and dangerous, ways to waste water is to fail to find and repair leaking plumbing systems. Leaking water is both a financial waste and also a danger to the health of the building and your employees. Water leaks can happen in supply or drain lines. Have all lines inspected regularly and encourage employees to report any known leaks immediately. A dripping water faucet or running toilet can be repaired for just a couple of dollars, but can cost a hundred dollars in lost water over a year’s time. Even worse, a leaking supply line can cost money in wasted water but also cause thousands of dollars in damage to drywall and other surfaces; repairing these surfaces can cost money and result in additional waste. Furthermore, standing water and wet materials can become a health hazard.
4) Install low-flow fixtures and other devices.
You can get great bang for your buck, as they say, by installing low-flow water fixtures and automatic shut-off fixtures. Low flow toilets and waterless urinals are a great way to conserve water, still allowing necessary functions to be carried out but using just a bit less water each time. Low flow showerheads can be used in employee locker rooms and automatic shut-off sinks are a great way to encourage reduced water consumption inside your building.
Getting your employees to join your conservation efforts is really important. In many non-production facilities, employees are the main way that water is consumed. Consider creating a list of ways that employees can conserve water (and energy), sending it out in an environmentally friendly email. You can also get your employees enthusiastic about green initiatives as a whole by holding various competitions: See what group can recycle the most batteries, create a list of the best ways to save water or reduce their electricity consumption.
6) Create a plan and set goals.
Simply making a few changes without a real plan can result in some savings, to be sure. However, the most savings will be realized if you create a plan for all the ways you intend to conserve water and then set specific goals for how much water you want to save. Goals can begin modest then be increased over time. Goals can also be set by gallon usage or cost of the water, whichever seems more valuable to you.
7) Monitor Your Results
As with anything, a water conservation plan is only truly effective if you know that it works by monitoring the progress you have made. Track your results, comparing the savings against your goals. Re-evaluate your goals and your water conservation activities as necessary.