Educate your employees and coworkers.
- Build understanding among employees and coworkers. Make employees and coworkers aware of water scarcity issues and the impact of water conservation practices. Conserving water not only saves water, but money too, on both operation and production costs.
- Educated employees will be better able to identify problems and think innovatively about ways to conserve or reuse water within the facility.
Know your usage.
- Read your water meter. By reading your water meter daily, weekly or monthly you can record your average water consumption. Water meters are generally located near the front of your property. It is suggested that the meters are read and recorded at the beginning of shutdown and at the start of operations. Any water use during shutdown can be attributed to leaks and the leak source should be investigated. If your business has multiple buildings or processes, to help you fully understand your water use, you can install a separate meter at each location. Meter reading can easily be incorporated into your existing maintenance, security or cleaning routines.
- Establish a baseline use. Examining your water and sewer bills can help you understand your historical water use. To establish a baseline for your average daily consumption, divide your monthly or bimonthly bill by the number of days in that billing period. This baseline can only be used for comparison if business volumes do not fluctuate. For businesses that have seasonal or growth demands, measuring water use per unit of production is the best way to assess your water efficiency. For example, if your business grows, your total water use may increase even if you have implemented water saving initiatives.
Identify and fix leaks.
The easiest way to identify when leaks occur is to know when your use rises above a base level for your operations. Once you have identified that there may be a leak on your property, you need to take steps to locate and repair the leak.
To locate leaks:
- Look for a trend of increased usage that cannot be associated with increased business through sub-meters.
- Conduct regular inspections of equipment or areas where leaks could occur, like pipe-work joints, connections and fittings. Indications include dampness, rust marks or swelling boards. Significant leaks can often be detected by listening in the absence of other noise.
- Check equipment. Worn, old or poorly maintained equipment can waste significant amounts of water.
- Install monitoring or sub-meter systems that alert you when excessive flows or reduced pressures breach normal ranges.
- For concealed or subsurface pipe-work, leakage detection companies can employ techniques such as pressure testing, flow monitoring and echo correlation.
Maximize the efficiency of your cooling tower.
- Consider eliminating once-through cooling of equipment with municipal water by recycling the water flow to cooling towers or replacing it with air-cooled equipment. High volumes of water can be lost as water vapor while performing the cooling function.
Install water efficient equipment.
- Install ultra-low flow toilets, adjust flush valves or install dams on existing toilets.
- Install faucet aerators and high efficiency showerheads.
- Use water-conserving ice makers.
- As appliances and equipment wear out, replace them with water-saving models.
Minimize the use of water for cleaning purposes.
- Use brooms, squeegees and dry vacuum cleaners to clean surfaces before washing with water.
- Use washing equipment that has aerated spray nozzles equipped with shut-off valves.
- Fit hoses with high-pressure, low-volume nozzles with shut-off valves.
- Where possible, mop floors instead of hosing.
- Switch from wet carpet cleaning methods, such as steam cleaning, to dry power methods or spot cleaning.
- Sweep parking areas rather than hosing, unless it’s required for health regulations.
- Sweep paved areas.
- Reconsider the need to wash building exteriors or other outside structures.
- Reduce the frequency of cleaning external equipment and floors where possible.
- Change window cleaning schedules from ‘regular’ to ‘as required’ and use squeegees.
- Wash vehicles only when needed.
- Limit the use of high-pressure sprayers, unless they are needed to protect human health and maintain safety.