Start small, think big
Water is the elixir of life and we need to remember that it is a precious resource. There are many ways you can save water in all the different activities in your workplace. It’s not just the water used in your bathroom or kitchen areas but also the water that goes into making the paper you use or the products you buy or sell. Start small with some quick wins like installing tap aerators to reduce the amount of water you use by 50% or less watering of the office garden. Think big by measuring your water usage and looking to decrease it by 30% in 2 years. Try some of our water saving tips to reduce your business’s water usage.
The old adage is true, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So a good place to start with water usage is to take a 12 month historical period and add up your total water usage and the total cost. Then when you implement changes or invest in any water saving equipment you will have a baseline to measure your improvement against it.
Before you start to make changes make sure that the water your business consumes is not leaking anywhere on the premises. This is something that your green team or facilities management team can do.
- You need to access your water meter and your ‘inside’ stop valve
- The water will need to be switched off for about an hour
- Switch off all appliances that consume water and turn off your inside stop valve
- Take note of your meter reading
- Wait for one hour, then take a second meter reading
- If there’s a difference between the two readings, contact with your water suppliers
Water saving tips
The main places that consume water in a workplace setting are kitchens, bathrooms and office gardens or outside spaces. If your business uses water in a manufacturing capacity, look at the areas where you use water and see what can be done to reduce water usage. It can be useful to look at similar companies to see what they are doing and if the same methods can apply to your business.
Water saving tips for your kitchen
- Only put the dishwasher on when it is full
- Only boil the amount of water you need for your cup, save energy and money too
- Fix dripping or leaking taps – a dripping tap can waste as much as 1 litre of water an hour – that’s enough to fill a bathtub over a week
Water saving tips for your bathrooms
- Put a cistern water saver in your toilet (this could simply be a full water bottle or a brick), it will save about 1 litre per flush
- Install tap aerators if you don’t have them already, they can save 50% of water usage
- Install automatic taps that turn off. A hot water tap left running by mistake for 10 minutes in every hour of a working day will cost €6,000/annum, source the EPA
- Use low flow shower heads
Water saving tips for your office garden
- No need to water your grass – it will bounce back after dry spells by itself!
- Put signs up to let people know you are letting the grass yellow for a reason
- Water plants early in the morning or in the evening. Plants will lock in the most moisture then rather than losing it in the heat of the day
- Install a water butt to collect rain water to use in the garden
Water saving strategy
The ultimate aim is to integrate a water usage plan into your overall sustainability objectives. The plan should include both operational areas, supply chain and manufacturing as applicable. Once you have a baseline from your water bills, you can measure against future initiatives.
Discuss your plan with your employees and invite their input for the best ways to achieve your goals, afterall they will be the ones implementing them. Start with simple actions like installing automatic cut off taps, fixing dripping taps and installing aerators. Get employees on board with water saving measures like only boiling the water they need for their tea and coffee and see what a difference it makes to your water and energy bills!