Page 36 - WaterSense at Work

WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities
Introduction to Water Use
Monitoring and Education
Two key factors to properly managing and reducing facility water use are actively
monitoring water use and effectively educating facility staff, building occupants,
employees, and visitors about facility water use and water management planning
goals. Monitoring and education are critical to the success of a facility’s water man-
agement program because they provide the ability to track and measure progress, as
well as increase awareness and build support for specific projects or user behavioral
By routinely monitoring facility water use through existing water meters, building
owners and operators can understand and manage facility water use. To monitor
some specific activities more closely, some facilities install submeters on major end
uses, such as irrigation systems and cooling towers. Metering allows a facility to
quickly find and fix leaks or other unnecessary water use. It also has the added ben-
efit of enabling the facility to identify cost-effective water use reduction opportuni-
ties and to track project savings.
Leaks are water wasted with no intended use or purpose;
once identified, leaks should be the first area to target from
a water management perspective. Unfortunately, leaks often
go undetected, particularly if a facility is not routinely moni-
toring its water use. On average, leaks can account for more
than 6 percent of a facility’s total water use. With a few simple
steps, a facility can establish a comprehensive leak detection
and repair program, which can save water, money, time, and
expenses that would otherwise be associated with unman-
aged leaks.
Once a facility has an accurate understanding of its water use
and has taken steps to eliminate leaks and other unnecessary
water waste, the next step is to educate building occupants,
employees, and visitors about using water efficiently. Build-
ing owners and operators can raise awareness of water-efficiency efforts by commu-
nicating reduction goals to their employees, guests, and other stakeholders. Much
of the water use within a facility is dependent upon user behavior and proper opera-
tion and maintenance of water-using products and equipment. Simple behavioral
changes, such as taking shorter showers, running dishwashers only with full loads, or
using a dual-flush toilet properly, can result in significant water savings. In addition,
maintaining equipment and training staff to look for and report leaks can be a key
component of a facility’s leak detection and repair program, helping to ensure the
long-term water savings associated with any water-efficient products or equipment
Another aspect of water use education is to understand the impact of national, state,
and local codes, standards, and voluntary water-efficiency programs. In many cases,
building and plumbing codes and standards establish the baseline for how build-
ings use water and even the types of water-using products that can be installed.
Voluntary programs such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s)
Water meter