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How to Avoid Drowning in Water Costs

zak, bob, ecovaThere’s no denying it – water is increasingly becoming an important issue. California is currently experiencing an unprecedented drought, and new studies suggest there will be a worldwide water shortage by 2040. As water becomes scarcer, prices will continue to skyrocket. Already, water prices have increased by 30 percent since 2008.

From office buildings to malls and industrial facilities, the cost of water is impacting all industries. Unlike being able to shop around for energy in deregulated markets, there is no such opportunity when it comes to water. This further indicates that water management is imperative for any business. Yet knowing where to start can be daunting, especially for those that have a portfolio of sites in the tens, hundreds or thousands.

While water management opportunities can vary by industry, there are a few best practices that can be followed by all to optimize savings.

1. Harness Data

According to a recent poll from an Ecova webinar, 44 percent of respondents indicated that access to data and analytics to prioritize water management is one of their main obstacles. Without insight into how your organizing is consuming water, you will likely end up drowning in water costs. The first place to start is with your own utility bills. By managing and analyzing invoice data, organizations can gain better insight into water consumption at the regional or site level and needed areas of improvements.This activity alone can contribute valuable savings.

Tools that help manage and analyze water consumption can provide a direct view into the portfolio’s average energy and water consumption, and even compares consumption to peers, leading to greater transparency into high consumption locations, incorrect meter reads or water leaks.

2. Upgrade Internal Infrastructure

Controlling or modifying equipment can be a challenge given degradation due to age or improper use of installations. As you gather additional data and trends analysis, you will be able to understand which sites are consistently underperforming and may be worth investing in capital funds. Investigate opportunities for low-cost or capital investments, as well as opportunities to upgrade equipment to higher efficiency options. Low flow fixtures and devices, such as faucet aerators in kitchens, can reduce the flow of water while maintaining needed water pressure. For instance, Shari’s saved $300,000 and cut water consumption by approximately 5 million gallons a year just by installing aerators on faucets. The EPA’s WaterSense program can also help identify water efficient products (think ENERGY STAR for water).

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2 thoughts on “How to Avoid Drowning in Water Costs

  1. Have you ever seen combusted natural gas irrigate the lawns and flower beds?
    Most large commercial buildings and industrial plants have a chimney poking out of the roof, venting combusted natural gas.
    Did you know that in every 1 lb of combusted natural gas, there is 2 lbs of recoverable water?
    To get to that distilled water the heat energy needs to be removed from the combusted exhaust. This is done with the technology of Condensing flue gas heat recovery. This recovered heat from the waste exhaust can then be used as building space heating, or to heat domestic or process water. At a hotel or university this recovered heat energy can even be used to heat the swimming pools.
    Increasing natural gas energy efficiency will also reduce CO2 emissions.
    Creating this very usable distilled water has side benefits.
    This water can be collected in a large plastic container underground, and when full a pump can come on and disperse this water over the lawns and flower beds.
    This water can also be injected into the buildings sanitary water lines.
    Using this water for these purposes saves using more expensive treated city water, or this water can also be treated and consumed as potable water.
    It is there for the taking.

  2. How about “#5. Water Recycling (i.e. reusing/re-purified wastewater and rainwater” or maybe “#6. Using Less Water”? Granted, the first one may require a somewhat costly investment in recycling technology but in the long run it will pay for itself, especially if water prices continued to increase yearly basis.

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