Water Efficient Buildings: Where Should You Start?
The building sector accounts for over 70% of the distributed water supply, making it a key player in addressing water shortages. So, the need to explore the relevance of water efficient buildings can’t be overemphasized.
Organizations with water efficient buildings contribute to water sustainability efforts, working toward better managing local water resources and lessening the impact of droughts. In addition to this, businesses that comply with water efficient building regulations end up saving significant amounts of money on utility bills.
Reducing water wastage is the most cost-effective, easiest, and most efficient way to considerably improve water efficiency in buildings. Therefore, water efficiency is an initiative every organization should embrace. This guide covers everything you need to know about water efficiency and water efficient buildings.
Why prioritize water efficient buildings?
Water pollution, drought, a rapidly increasing population, and natural disasters contribute to water scarcity in many nations.
To ensure that our most precious resource remains available for growing populations, everyone has to play their part in promoting water efficiency, especially in public and private organizations.
Wastage and leaks touch at least 1 in 3 buildings every year, and simply eradicating these problems can help improve overall building portfolio performance by an average of 25%.
Another reason commercial (and residential) buildings need to maintain water efficiency is that it decreases the cost of water bills and prevents the high costs of future maintenance resulting from undetected, escalated leakages.
9 ways to improve water efficiency in buildings
Now that we’ve discussed some key reasons why businesses need to support and promote water efficiency in their facilities, let’s consider what specific measures your organization can implement today to make your buildings water efficient.
1. Monitor water consumption
Equipping your buildings with smart meters and dataloggers is the first step toward measuring water consumption precisely.
Shayp offers non-invasive wireless hardware that makes this step cost-effective and effortless. Shayp’s hardware is a tool that is available to every organization that wants to better manage water consumption in their buildings.
2. Use specialized leak detection software
A significant amount (between 10% and 60%) of the water consumption in buildings is due to leakages, abnormal usage and system discrepancies in buildings. Very common culprits include leaky toilets, deregulated water softeners, and heating and cooling systems.
Undetected leaks in a plumbing water supply could lead to the wastage of gallons of water—sadly, 95% of leaks go undetected. These leakages need to first be addressed or else they will offset all your efforts at any given time. Thankfully, Shayp’s software can help you keep track of the health of your building’s plumbing system.
3. Upgrade water-consuming equipment
Unlike their older versions that consume more liters of water, modern toilets, laundry machines, and commercial dishwashers operate with less water.
If you have equipment that consumes a lot of water, you might need to upgrade it to a newer version that’s designed to conserve water efficiently.
For example, you could upgrade your toilet to a dual-flush model, which offers both low- and high-volume water delivery for flushing.
4. Replace water-wasting plumbing fixtures
Certain plumbing fixtures and fittings may contribute to water wastage in your facility.
It’s best to replace high-pressure fixtures (like bathroom sink faucets) with low-flow options. These low-flow taps and other fixtures supply just the amount of water a person needs—and no more.
5. Educate staff on the benefits of water efficiency
Everyone on your team needs to know the reasons why they should avoid waste and promote water efficiency. So, educating staff members on the benefits of water efficiency—and the disasters that come with overlooking it—is an important step to take.
Also, inform your team (via CSR reports, for instance) about your improvements and savings to further motivate them to support your organization’s mission to maintain water sustainability. Additionally, you can enroll some staff members in courses so they acquire valuable knowledge and water efficiency certifications.
6. Choose proper irrigation systems
Aim to achieve water efficiency both indoors and outdoors. If your irrigation system doesn’t promote water efficiency, then you’ll have to upgrade it or replace it entirely.
You can upgrade your irrigation system by installing water timers, rainfall detectors, and soil moisture sensors. These upgrades will help make your garden water efficient since plants will receive only the amount of water they need.
If you have no irrigation system in place yet, ensure you choose drip irrigation over traditional systems. Also, install adjustable sprinklers (instead of static, oscillating versions). The reason for these is to ensure you end up with an irrigation system that reduces water runoff.
7. Collect and reuse greywater
Another way to maintain water efficiency in your building is by setting up a greywater system. Greywater is wastewater from sinks, taps, showers, and other non-toilet plumbing fixtures. After collection and filtration, greywater becomes useful for washing, cleaning, and irrigation purposes.
8. Harvest rainwater
Rainwater harvesting is one way to harness another natural water source—rainfall—for numerous purposes. With water basins and rainwater cisterns, your organization can collect and reuse rain runoff from your building’s rooftop instead of letting it go to waste.
9. Conduct a water audit
A water audit will give you a clear picture of your organization’s water consumption over a specific period. The amount you’re spending (or will spend) on water bills, the volume of wasted water, and more. These details will assist you in mapping out a game plan for tackling wastage and promoting water efficiency in your facility.
You can only run a water audit when you have sufficient data to analyze—and Shayp can help with that. Shayp’s 2ZERO software provides organizations with detailed reports to run an efficient water audit.
Increase water efficiency with modern leak detection technology
Improving water efficiency is about reducing water usage, promoting savings, stopping wastage, and facilitating performance comparability among buildings. So, when you make efforts to have a more water efficient building but overlook water leak detection, your organization might struggle to achieve long-term water efficiency.
Shayp offers organizations intelligent water-monitoring software and hardware solutions to make their buildings water-efficient.
Want to support long-term water efficiency in your organization? Book a free demo with the Shayp team.