Workplace water-saving

Saving water deserves more attention as a sustainability initiative. In regions where shortages seem unlikely, the actual water’s actual value is likely to be far higher than its cost.

One cubic meter of water may cost as little as $0.10 where it is plentiful and $15 in arid zones. Supply already exceeds demand. By 2030 water supply may lag by as much as 40 percent. Businesses should evaluate new infrastructure investments with future costs in mind. That will avert a likely budget issue in years ahead.

Not all water savings belong in the future. These suggestions will bring cost savings to current budgets:

Install water-saving aerators on all faucets

Faucet aerators are inexpensive and simple to install, and will substantially reduce water consumption. The energy cost of heating wasted water is saved as well.

Breakroom kitchen faucets should use no more than 2.5 Gallons Per Minute (GPM). In restroom sinks, the flow should be no greater than 2.2 GPM. Many available products are rated as even more efficient. Faucet aerators will help conserve up to 40% of the water use.

Open the communications spigot

It’s easy to slowly waste water, but the droplets from a leaky faucet or worn valve add up. One faucet dripping every 20 seconds wastes 104 gallons per year. If your business has a substantial number of break room and lavatory faucets, you may wish to claim those savings.

No one likes to waste water, but if employees don’t know where to report a leaky faucet, that waste will happen. A simple solution is to post the contact information near where the problem will be observed.

Shop strategically

Looking for water savings? With the EPA’s online search tool, you select from drop-down lists of product categories, brand names, model names, and maximum Gallons Per Minute (GMP) flow rates. Results are retrieved from a database of tens of thousands of options.

If you prefer to scroll through long lists, you can download the spreadsheet of WaterSense labeled product models. Product types are listed on separate tabs along with GPM and other relevant details.

Low-flow faucets and fixtures are just the beginning of potential water conservation. The Arizona Department of Water Resources website, Water – Use It Wisely, offers more than 100 water saving tips. More than half of the recommendations focus on the workplace.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life. #RESILIENCY This Workplace Wellness Minute video describes List N of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). - 1 month ago
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Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
    • Traffic patterns
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.