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Sustainable Water Infrastructure Contacts

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Water & Energy Efficiency by Sectors

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What Is Commercial Water Use?

Commercial water users provide a product or service. Commercial water uses—like hotels, hospitals, schools, and offices—use significant quantities of water in restrooms, kitchens, and landscaping as well as for cooling, washing and other purposes.

How Can Water and Energy Be Used More Efficiently?

Saving energy saves water. EPA’s EnergyStar program offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way.

STEP 1: Make Commitment

STEP 2: Assess Performance

STEP 3: Set Goals

STEP 4: Create Action Plan

STEP 5: Implement Action Plan

STEP 6: Evaluate Progress

STEP 7: Recognize Achievements

energy saving flow chart

The Department of Energy’s A Consumers Guide Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy also provides ample information on how to use energy more efficiently in the workplace, particularly for office buildings.

Renewable energy options—like solar, geothermal, and wind—use negligible amounts of water compared to conventional sources of energy (e.g. coal and nuclear); investing in renewables invests in water conservation! EPA’s Green Power Partnership supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.

Does your facility need to heat water? Solar process-heating systems are designed to meet the need for large quantities of hot water or space heating at commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.

Also known as a water survey, a water audit is an excellent way to understand your current water use and future water savings. Generally, a water audit provides a detailed description of your facility’s water use, identifies potential water and financial savings, and recommends various water efficiency upgrades. Your local water district or public utility may provide you with a free water audit. If not, you can hire a consultant to conduct a water audit. Additionally, the WBCSD’s Global Water Tool Exiting EPA (disclaimer) is a free and easy-to-use tool for companies and organizations to map their water use and assess risks relative to their operations and supply chains.

Products that meet WaterSense criteria for water efficiency and performance carry a special label. When you use products bearing the WaterSense label in your kitchens, bathrooms and landscape, you can expect exceptional performance, savings on your water bills, and assurance that you are saving water for future generations. You can also save water by hiring certified water efficiency professionals, like WaterSense landscape irrigation professionals, Green Plumbers Exiting EPA (disclaimer), and rainwater catchment professionals Exiting EPA (disclaimer).

The EPA’s Green Infrastructure program has compiled information about various technologies & approaches, research, models & calculators, and case studies. You can save water and energy as well as improve water quality with green infrastructure.

Implementing an EMS is a major way your facility can be run more sustainably. Need help? The EPA’s Sector Strategies Program achieves performance improvement and burden reduction in 13 sectors by addressing their unique issues and challenges in a collaborative setting. Climate Leaders is an EPA industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies.

Are you using water and energy efficiently? EPA would like to recognize your important contribution! The Water Efficiency Leader Awards recognize organizations and individuals for their leadership and innovation in water efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR’s Partner of the Year Awards recognize partners’ special achievements in transforming their markets to ENERGY STAR. EPA presents these awards at the annual ENERGY STAR Awards banquet and reception in Washington D.C.

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Case Studies

  • The Hyatt Regency (Australia) Exiting EPA (disclaimer) has reduced water use from 140,000,000 liters in 1996 to 54,583,000 in 2000. The conservation program has projected to annually save $85,372!
  • Section 7 (pg. 77) of A Water Conservation Guide for Commercial, Institutional and Industrial Users Exiting EPA (disclaimer) provides various commercial, institutional, and industrial water conservation case studies.
  • By reducing outdoor water use (via planting natives plants, reducing fountain operation times, and installing an ET irrigation system) and indoor water use (via installing waterless urinals and infrared sensor faucets), Cisco Systems (PDF) (17 pp, 2.1M) saves more than 81 million gallons of water each year in California alone.
  • The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation Exiting EPA (disclaimer) has compiled case studies demonstrating water reuse and innovative waste treatment technologies as an alternate means of reducing water consumption.

If you would like to suggest or provide additional resources, please contact Charlotte Ely (Ely.Charlotte@epa.gov).

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