By understanding water consumption facts and figures, we have a pretty good idea where water is going in a facility.
The city of San Jose, Environmental Services Department studied a variety of facilities, from office buildings to manufacturing locations, in an effort to determine where water is most used in a facility…in other words, where’s it going. While each type of facility may have had special water needs, some common denominators were noted in the study.
For instance, in San Jose, which has a moderate to warm year round temperature, water needed for cooling systems was often at the top or near the top of the list. Additionally, if the property had a significant landscaped area, a considerable amount of water was invariably used for irrigation and vegetation as well.
This should be no surprise. If a facility is landscaped, water used for irrigation is very often at the top of the list when we are looking for where the water is going in that building.
However, other than cooling systems and landscaped areas, the one area of a facility where a large amount, if not the largest amount of water is used, is in restrooms. For instance:
· In office buildings, 40 percent of the water is used in restrooms, 28 percent for cooling, 22 percent for landscaping, the rest, according to the San Jose study, was listed as “other.”
· For hospitals, 40 percent of the water used is in patient bathrooms and public restrooms, 13 percent for cooling and heating, and the rest fairly evenly divided for laundry use, kitchen, and medical uses.
· When it comes to hotels and motels, once again the most water, this time 30 percent, is used in guest rooms and public restrooms; this is followed by kitchens, 25 percent; laundries, 20 percent; and interestingly cooling and heating at a low 15 percent.
· In schools, nearly half of the water consumed is used in restrooms; this was followed by landscaping at 25 percent, HVAC, 20 percent, kitchens and pools making up the rest.
Interestingly, the areas where the greatest amount of water can be reduced quickly and easily, and often inexpensively is also in restrooms. Let’s take schools for instance.
A very simple and very inexpensive way school districts can reduce water consumption is by replacing conventional urinals with no-water or waterless urinals. This step alone can reduce water use by as much as 40,000 gallons of water per year…and that’s just by replacing one water using urinal.
Another option is to install aerators in sink faucets. Are you aware that a conventional restroom sink uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. According to the Regional Water Providers Consortium, which provides drinking water for 95 percent of the Portland, Oregon area, this amount can be cut in half – if not more - with the installation of aerators.
When it comes to toilets, there are now many options and we can expect many more in the future. Without question, a high performance toilet should be installed. While the savings are not dramatic – usually going from 1.6 gallons of water per flush to 1.25 gallons per flush – when you consider all the toilets in for instance a multi-story facility, you can quickly see how this small amount adds up fast.
For more information on water consumption facts, ways to reduce water consumption, and waterless urinals, contact a Waterless Co representative.