This guide looks at simple ways of introducing water savings for UK businesses. Developed by the resource optimisation and water reuse specialists at Water Treatment Services the guide highlights the growing issues around water scarcity and why saving water is becoming increasingly important. It then considers a number of simple measures that businesses and their staff can take now to help save water, money and the environment.
Saving water in the workplace and at home
Most organisations in the UK are already thinking strategically about their energy efficiency, but aren’t quite as up to speed with using water efficiently too.
As we all become ever more environmentally conscious people are increasingly recognising what a precious resource water is, and there is a rapidly growing understanding that we should be doing what we can to save water.
Many experts believe that by 2030, the demand for freshwater could outstrip supply by 40%
The demand for fresh water is rapidly increasing around the world
Most people living in the UK, take the availability of fresh water for granted.
There’s plenty of it falling out of the sky and it’s there when we turn on the tap.
It’s easy to think that drinking water is an unlimited resource but that’s far from being the case.
Only 2.5% of the water on the surface of the planet is fresh water, and only 1% is accessible for us to use.
As the number of people on the planet grows year on year, this finite supply of water will have to go around many more people.
Experts reckon that by 2030, the demand for freshwater could outstrip supply by 40%.
It’s also easy to dismiss this as something as a problem only for developing countries but that’s not true; Sudan has more water available per person than the crowded south-east of England.
Why should businesses save water?
Whatever the size of your business, you’ll use water in some way.
From a small business perspective water is even more important as employers will have to make sure there is safe drinking water, toilets which flush properly and there’s a tap to fill the kettle for cups of tea.
Water is also critical for many process and manufacturing industries too.
For example, producing one litre of petrol requires between 13 and 27 litres of water to process it.
10 litres of water are needed to make just one sheet of A4 paper for your office printer.
Save water… save money… save the environment
The main advantages to saving water for a business are that it can not only help organisations save money, but it can improve their environmental performance as well.
These water saving measures don’t have to be time-consuming, awkward or expensive.
Things as simple as getting staff to use the short flush on the toilet or making sure the dishwasher is filled before using it are quick wins when it comes to saving water and reducing your water bill.
These small savings can quickly mount up too; replacing a washer on a dripping tap can result in a £18 saving on your annual water bill.
Working out how much water you currently use
The first step in trying to reduce water consumption is trying to establish how much water you are currently using in your business.
This process is known as a water audit.
Start by taking an accurate readings from your water meter.
Then return exactly a week later to work out how many cubic metres or litres of water you have used over the test period.
This gives you a good starting point to measure your water saving initiatives against when you measure consumption again at a later date.
You could also look at your water bills from previous years.
A sharp rise in water consumption without any logical explanation could indicate that you have a leak somewhere on site.
Start saving water as soon as you can
Once you have your starting point, it’s time to start implementing water saving measures for your business.
Some of these measures are simple, and often your water company will provide free advice, or even gadgets to help you reduce consumption.
If, for example, the toilets in your business were installed before 2001, it is unlikely that they have a water saving dual flush option.
Putting a displacement device in the cistern could help save 5,000 litres of water per toilet, per year.
Not all businesses have showers, but if you do, and fit water efficient shower heads, this can cut use by 40%.
Similarly, fitting hand washing taps with automatic sensors which switch the taps off when not in use can save up to 6 litres per minute.
Get everyone in the business on-board
There’s no point in management deciding to save water without getting everyone else on board with the idea.
Luckily, saving water is a concept with which most workers should be familiar, and it’s not a hard sell to get people convinced of the benefits of saving water in your business.
Most businesses choose to appoint one staff member to take charge of the water saving initiatives, train staff in their importance and make sure staff engage with the water saving ideas.
Simple measures such as putting up stickers or posters in kitchens and bathrooms can prompt staff to reduce their water use.
Won’t all these water saving initiatives cost my business money?
The main sticking point when it comes to convincing businesses to reduce their water use is the idea that saving water is expensive.
However, many of the changes which will save the most money are free, or at least very low-cost.
Any cost should also be balanced against any cost savings for water and wastewater bills going forward.
If the company accountant needs convincing, persuade them by pointing out that many water saving products and technologies can be set against taxable profits by using the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.
More information about the UK scheme can be found here:
Evaluating your business water savings
The final part of the process is to run your water audit again, and see how much water you’ve saved.
You should also see the saved costs reflected in your water bills.
Remember to share your achievements with your colleagues and congratulate them on their efforts.
Ask for their recommendations about how to save even more water in the business, and even at home.
If you hit a plateau and can’t seem to think of any ideas to save more water, call in the experts and see if they can suggest anything you may have missed.
Specialist water saving, re-use and resource optimisation solutions
Water Treatment Services offer a comprehensive range of innovative resource optimisation, water saving and re-use solutions that can save on valuable resources, improve environmental performance, and reduce both water and wastewater costs.
Our experts can provide advice and support to help you identify the most appropriate water optimisation strategies for your buildings and facilities.
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers and equipment specialists we offer cost effective engineering and environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and internationally.
Contact us today to learn how our water saving and reuse solutions can help you and the environment.
More information about our water and resource optimisation solutions.