How to be more water wise in commercial buildings

How to be more water wise in commercial buildings

Be it a retail, hospitality, medical, educational or corporate building, these commercial establishments rely on water for a number of reasons. While many business’ ideal goal would be to operate sustainably, the perfect green approach takes both water and energy consumption into account, not just water.

People tend to abuse water in their personal and workplace capacity. And, unfortunately, there is no longer an abundance of water available in South Africa or in other countries across the globe for that matter, therefore businesses need to start looking for smarter ways to save water and opt for recycled, treated water instead. Each type of business relies on water for different reasons, but in order to put a water-saving strategy into place, you will need to understand where you’re consuming the most water and why. Thereafter, you will be able to prioritise systems to help you and your employees save water.

Here are a few commercial water saving tips to consider:

  • Look at low-flow plumbing fixtures in bathrooms

Low-flow can be implemented in toilets and taps, allowing you to save nearly half of the usual amount of water flowing through toilets and sinks when flushing or opening the tap. This fixture was designed in such a way that there are flush options for both liquid and waste. You will also reduce toilet clogging caused by excessive toilet paper put into the toilets by employees or public visitors. With different toilet drainage designs to choose from, including gravity-fed and pressure-assisted low-flow fixtures, you will be able to save plenty of money on your company’s utility bill as well conserve water for a bigger purpose. When people become familiar with these systems, they will start to assist in water-saving practices.

  • Install a grey water system

The main purpose of installing a grey water system is to be able to reuse water in other areas of your business. This is ideal for hospitality establishments as they tend to use excessive amounts of water rinsing and washing dishes. Should you want to use this water for more reasons, besides human consumption, you will be able to install a filter to help filter and treat the water. You can seek treatment advice from a water treatment specialist in Cape Town, as they will be able to give you the information and resources needed to filter your water to remove the pollutants from the water. Note that grey water is not advised for drinkable water and if you want to minimise the further possibility of contamination, you will need to treat the water to remove any harmful chemicals which could stay behind.

  • Consider reducing pipe pressure

Similar to the concept of low-flow fixtures, commercial buildings can reduce the pressure flowing through the pipes. In high-rise buildings, it’s necessary for water booster pumps to be installed. This can help to maintain the water supply and eliminate the risk of pipe damage and rupture caused by water pressure.

  • Insulate piping to reduce water waste

Usually, in commercial buildings, piping is uninsulated. This means that people will spend long periods of time with the tap open waiting for hot water to eventually come through the pips. This takes a while and leads to excessive water waste. If you insulate your pipes, it will ensure that warm water will be supplied on demand, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the water and the amount of water wasted.

  • Have a separate meter for your irrigation system

If you are able to monitor your irrigation system separately, you will be able to see how much water you’re actually wasting. If you don’t know how much water you’re using inside your building and outside to water your garden plants, you won’t be able to calculate your savings. Try to install a drip irrigation system for your garden using recycled or treated water. Using the right water solutions will help you to play your part and make a difference. These heavy-duty systems available from specialist water treatment companies in South Africa are designed for business consumption, so you will be able to treat thousands of litres of water at once without having to rely on municipal water.

  • Educate employees about water conservation

As much as water conservation is about making the effort to change your approach for the better, it’s also about teaching your employees and the public who visit your establishment about the different water-saving practices and technologies. When your employees understand why they need to save water, they will be able to stand together as a team and create a sustainable approach.

Working as a unit will enforce the importance of water scarcity in South Africa and across the globe. And once employees learn about water conservation at work, they will be able to go home and implement similar practices at home in their personal capacity. All it takes is some education to give them that push.


Authored by: mjones

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