Being high-volume water users, hotels are always looking for ways to reduce water consumption. One water-saving method that has become near standard concerns the daily washing of linens and towels, i.e., allowing hotel guests to decide for themselves if their linens and towels can go another day before washing.
Although significant water reductions—and savings—have been attained with this system, many larger facilities are looking for still more ways and newer technologies to help reduce water consumption without sacrificing guest comfort or convenience. Two systems that are being explored and incorporated are xeriscaping and the installation of waterless urinals.
Changing the Landscape
The MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, was at one time using more water than any other property in the city. The big culprit was the facility’s landscaping.
When the MGM Grand opened in 1993, more than 85 percent of the building’s acreage was covered with thirsty lawns and flowering plants. It required the use of more than 60 gallons of water per square foot per year. Today most of these areas have been converted to xeriscaping—landscaping using low-water-consumption desert plants and ground materials. Now, the hotel grounds consume only 20 gallons of water per square foot per year.
The MGM Grand is not the only Las Vegas hotel to incorporate xeriscaping. The Bellagio, world famous for its “front yard” water show, has recently removed more than 20,000 square feet of landscaping and converted it to rock mulch. The facility has also converted the watering system used on more than 1.5 acres of shrub-landscaped area from overhead spray irrigation systems to drip irrigation. In addition, it has replaced all planters with water-wise landscaping. These measures have helped the property to save a huge percentage of the water dedicated to landscape care.
A second step hotels are taking to conserve water is installing no-flush urinals. Before 1989, urinals used about 3 gallons per flush (gpf). This was reduced to about 1.5 gpf with urinals installed after 1989, and today, new urinals are required to use about 1 gpf. However, this is still a huge amount of potable water. In fact, it is estimated that just one urinal can use as much as 35,000 gallons of water per year.
This is why waterless urinals are gathering considerable interest in all types of hotel properties.
Most of these waterless urinals have a vertical trap design for better flow-through that incorporates a trap/cylinder filled with a thin layer of liquid sealant. This trap/cylinder sits atop the drain area of the urinal. Urine passes through the trap and sealant, allowing the urine to be drained, much the same way a conventional urinal works. The barrier is designed to prevent odors from being released into the restroom.
Waterless units cost less to install because plumbing requirements are minimized. Similarly, water and sewer costs are reduced. And just like no-touch faucets, the units are more hygienic because of their touch-free, no-flush operation.
Water—Use It Wisely
Water is essential to our health and to the health of our environment. As a major user of this precious resource, the hotel and motel industry has an important responsibility to practice water conservation. The good news is that by reducing their use of water, hotels can help protect the environment and gain a competitive edge by reducing their own cost of doing business.
Sidebar: The Cost Savings of Installing Waterless Urinals
For more information on waterless urinals, contact a Waterless Co representative at 800-244-6364