In Your Business
Tips for Saving Water and Money in Your Business
Here are some tips that are applicable to many types of businesses. For more detailed water saving information for hotels, restaurants, plumbing and landscape businesses see our new website SaveWaterNorthShore.org.
Increase Employee Awareness:
- Put up signs encouraging water conservation in kitchens and restrooms.
- Assign an employee to determine and monitor the quantity and purpose of water use and to identify water waste.
- Develop a mission statement and a plan.
- Offer incentives to employees whose suggestions to save water also save money. Brainstorm other methods to conserve water.
- Promote a “green” image for your facility
- Inform your suppliers or service contractors (cooling tower, laundry, dishwasher, landscaping) that water efficiency is a priority.
Use Water-Saving Maintenance and Equipment:
- Set attainable goals for water use reductions. Read water meters weekly to monitor success of your water conservation efforts and let employees know how they’re doing.
- Use water-efficient plumbing fixtures, appliances and other equipment.
- Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clear sidewalks, driveways, loading docks and parking lots.
- Check your water supply system for leaks. Repair dripping faucets and toilets that run continuously or leak.
- Keep equipment calibrated and operating properly.
Tips for Heating and Cooling:
- Avoid excessive cooling tower blowdown, check with chemical vendor to increase concentration ratio of cooling tower.
- Make-up water and blowdown should be sub-metered and recorded regularly to address any anomalous usage patterns that could indicate leaks or problems in the system.
- Discuss cooling tower sewer abatement with your city/town water department.
- Utilize sidestream filtration to reduce concentration of solids.
- Investigate possibility of steam condensate for cooling tower make-up.
- Consider ozone treatment for cooling tower.
- Check steam traps and ensure return of steam condensate to boiler for reuse.
- Limit boiler blowdown, check continuous blowdown systems and adjust if necessary.
- Minimize the water used in cooling equipment, such as compressors, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Utilize solenoid controls and timers to match cooling water to duty cycle of equipment.
- Employ an expansion tank for boiler blowdown drainage rather than cold water mixing.
- Replace water-cooled equipment with air-cooled units where possible and economically feasible.
Tips for Restaurant Kitchens and Cafeterias:
- Operate dishwashers with full loads only, ensure that water shuts off when no ware is in the washer.
- Reduce flow of water to minimum necessary in scrapper troughs, food prep, wash down and frozen food thawing.
- Install high pressure/low flow spray rinsers with automatic shut off for pot washing.
- Adjust ice machines to dispense less ice if excess ice is produced.
- Control flow of water to garbage disposer or consider eliminating the use of the disposer altogether.
- Retrofit once-through water-cooled refrigeration and ice machines and incorporate into recirculating cooling loop wherever possible.
- Consider life cycle costing and replacement of water using equipment such as dishwashers, refrigeration units and ice machines with water efficient and air-cooled models.
Building Maintenance Tips:
- Read water meters and submeter all major water using systems. Graph and analyze data to spot trends that could indicate leaks or malfunctioning equipment.
- Locate and repair leaks. Develop a regular maintenance schedule and fix leaks immediately.
- Check solenoid valves and switches on all water-using equipment periodically; repair or replace as necessary.
- Maintain insulation on hot water pipes.
- Replace any water-using equipment or fixtures that wear out with water-saving models or air-cooled units where possible.
Design and Maintain Landscapes for Efficiency:
- Hire a landscape manager or service experienced in water-efficient landscaping concepts.
- A hearty rain can eliminate the need for watering – install a rain sensor that shuts down automatic irrigation systems when it rains. Make monthly (or even better – weekly!) adjustments to your irrigation controller to account for weather changes.
- Water your lawn in the early morning or in the evening, when temperatures are cooler and water isn’t lost to evaporation.
- Consider using low-volume irrigation, such as a drip irrigation system. It is a good alternative for flowerbeds and shrubs that applies water directly to the roots, which significantly reduces evaporation.
- Limit or exclude water demanding turf areas to where they are actually necessary, such as picnic areas, playgrounds and sports fields.
- Use low water turfs and native or regionally adapted plants in other areas.
- Design watering systems with dual lines to irrigate turf separately from trees, shrubs and perennials, which require less water.
- Investigate the availability of reclaimed water for irrigation and other approved uses.
Local Business Water Conservation Success Stories
Ipswich Entrepreneur Harvests Rain to Wash Cars (excerpt from IRWA Newsletter, Winter 2007)
Long-time Ipswich resident Ken Ouellette always wanted to own a car wash. But, he says, “I knew the water would have been a problem. I’ve lived here for 30 years and have seen the water ban every August and September.” The site Ouellette wanted to use was within the watershed of the stressed Egypt-Rowley River, the Town of Ipswich’s primary source of drinking water.
So he came up with a unique solution.
Working with local engineer Larry Graham, “we came up with the idea of a rainwater harvesting system like anyone could have at home, just on a larger scale.” His new car wash collects all the rainwater that falls on the property in a 50,000-gallon underground holding tank. The rainwater, which is filtered through sand and grease traps before entering the tank, is used to wash the cars and irrigate the lawn and flowerbeds. The car wash also recycles the rainwater and uses this “greywater” to wash the bottoms of cars. Only about eight gallons of town water is used for the final rinse, says Ouellette.
Thanks to Local Businesses Life is Sweeter…DownRiver (excerpt from IRWA Newsletter, Spring 2011)
Our local waterways are a big part of what makes this a great place to live and work. Many local businesses are committed to protecting these waters, while helping people enjoy this special place. With the goal of producing zero trash, a pledge to buy local, and the implementation of a number of “green” technologies, DownRiver Ice Cream is a great example of this commitment.
DownRiver Ice Cream, with the tagline “Life is sweeter…DownRiver,” is owned and operated by Amy and Joe Ahearn of Essex, Mass. Committed to making the business green, the Ahearns renovated a former lobster shack with environmentally friendly floor sealant, light bulbs, a flash water heater and low flush toilets, and they make conserving water a priority.
DownRiver contracts with Bliss Brothers in Attleboro for their natural dairy products, which have no antibiotics, growth hormones or preservatives. Recyclable spoons and dishes, recycled paper napkins, and reusable ice cream tubs also contribute to their green business model. They are also growing their own blueberries and strawberries out back which are blended into the ice cream. Four 55-gallon rain barrels at the base of the building’s gutters collect “grey water” from the roof as well as from the air conditioner condensation drain pipe for these on-site fruit gardens.
So, you can feel good about water conservation this summer by enjoying some DownRiver ice cream while you lounge on a recycled Adirondack Chairs, watch birds at the feeder, and read about the Great Marsh
on the Essex County Greenbelt Association’s interpretive sign.
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