Saving Water in Buildings – Part 1

May 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

A large part of making any building eco-friendly has to do with trying to use all resources wisely. Water is an often overlooked opportunity for your site to save money and use resources more efficiently. Saving water also save energy because potable water is a limited resource that requires energy and other resources to create and deliver. The more we can save the better off we all are, not to mention the needs of the many drought plagued areas such as southern California where I am from.

The first step in saving water at any building has to do with good maintenance. Yes you’re right, fix all of those leaks, dripping faucets, running on toilets and broken irrigation parts. This step alone will save probably as much as 3-5% on your water bill.

Those of you who manage residential buildings should also add a new toilet flapper to your unit turn list. This $5-$10 part when replaced regularly will stop the largest potential waste of water that is maintenance related. At one point I was managing a building that suddenly had a $1000, one month water bill because a toilet in a little used back building on a commercial site had lost the flapper completely and was flushing continuously.

Now many of you are being asked to replace your existing toilet fixtures with low flow models. I can only caution you to choose carefully as some of these toilets are less than advertised. When an appropriate model is chosen and installed correctly they can provide a great boost to the water efficiency of the building. Also these updated fixtures are required under current code if you are contemplating a remodel or new construction.

There is also some other options available especially when we talk about commercial restrooms. The urinals and toilets can be retrofitted with auto flushing mechanisms which will also trim your water bill by controlling how often a particular fixture is flushed.

Okay how do you start picking out this stuff you ask? Well there are various group and government agencies who have tested and rated these fixtures and many other items that consume water. One such group is the California Urban Water Conservation Council. They have a fairly extensive site whose product site can be found here:

A good general article on this subject can also be found here:

Now some of you are more adventurous than others and are wondering about those urinals that are waterless? I will continue on this subject next Wed. and will pick up here.

As always I appreciate your interest and time. Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions at:

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Entry filed under: Compliance, Design, Recycling. Tags: , , , .

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