Water Conservation’s Impact on Commercial Settings

Water conservation efforts are often targeted to residential users, commonly the largest demographic in a constituency.

“Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.”
“Reduce the time you’re in the shower.”
“Water your landscaping at dawn or dusk.”
“Upgrade your faucets, shower heads, and toilets to high efficiency models.”

These are common water conservation refrains and, in domestic and residential scenarios, viable water-saving methods. But they have a major flaw — they don’t generally apply to your industrial and commercial constituents.

The Role of Industry

Though residents may be the majority of your constituents, they are far from the largest water users.

Of all the fresh water withdrawn in the US annually, domestic and residential usage only account for about 12%. The commercial and industrial sector withdraws about 17% of the total, making it the second largest water user behind agriculture.

Though the responsibility for water conservation has largely been placed on residential users, there has been an evident shift in the approach to water conservation in the industrial and commercial sector. There are a number of relatively simple steps that manufacturers and other companies can take to help increase their levels of water conservation and water reuse.

Evaluate

The first step of any good plan is evaluation, and developing a water conservation plan is no different. In commercial and industrial settings, evaluations can be performed in two stages.

  1. Facility audit — Before taking any steps to reduce water use at an industrial or commercial facility, the facility operator needs to understand their water use. Professional water use auditors are available to perform comprehensive on-site surveys, including leak checks.
  2. Compare benchmarks — Every industry has resource usage benchmarks, collected by industry organizations or state or federal governmental departments. Find the water benchmarks for industries represented in your constituency and provide them to companies so that they can compare them to the results of their facility audits.

Upgrade

Industrial and commercial facilities can upgrade their water fixtures in the same way that residences can. Though they usually lack showers, such facilities still have sink faucets in restrooms and employee common areas. Sink hardware can be replaced with new highly efficient faucet aerators and adapters.

It’s not just faucets that can be upgraded — plenty of industrial equipment uses water. Water-cooling equipment, for example, is ubiquitous and in many instances can easily be replaced with air-cooling equipment. You should also urge your industrial constituents to consider upgrading systems to use reclaimed water; the wastewater is treated to a purity level more than safe for drinking and requires no direct water withdrawals.

AM Conservation Group Can Help

Evaluating facilities and investigating upgrade options are only some of the first steps to a comprehensive water conservation plan.

The process can seem daunting to many industrial and commercial companies, especially smaller ones. But it doesn’t have to be, if the right information, incentives, and opportunities are provided. Many companies have already instituted successful water conservation plans, including Rohm & Has Electronic Materials (now part of Dow), the Marriott Hotel, General Mills, and Starbucks. Commercial and industrial companies in your constituency can easily follow suit.

To learn more about water conservation and how you can help your local companies start their own water conservation project, download AM Conservation Group’s free Water Conservation Packet or contact us today.


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