Water Conservation Auditing

The Water Conservation Auditing Overview

With droughts and water shortages being reported almost every day in the papers, everyone by now should understand the importance of water conservation. But it's not just the shortage of water that should be a concern, but also the realization that water use also has considerable consequences for energy, especially in the west and southwest, where communities receive their water supply through incredibly energy-intensive and expensive water projects. In California, pumping and treating water accounts for ten percent of the state's total energy use. Although the cvost to end-users of water is small compared to energy costs, saving water is the responsibility of everyone.

It is estimated that commercial and institutional sectors use about one-quarter of all pumpted water. About half of this usage is associated with the heating and cooling of buildings. Some studies have suggested that cost-effective conservation efforts could reduce non-residential urban water consumption from 15 to 50 percent. As water shortages become more severe, it becomes more important to identify these savings through a water conservation audit.

Like an energy audit, a water audit provides valuable information regarding a building's water use, as well as opportunities for conservation. Water audits focus on fixture flow rates, leakages, landscaping irrigation systems, and any water use associated with processes or operations. The Water Conservation audit from ECO Zero generates a detailed report listing specific recommendations and their associated costs.

The Water Audit

The Water Conservation Audit from ECO Zero focuses on water use, both inside and outside the building. The two most critical areas to consider inside a building is replacement of high-volume plumbing fixtures and identification of any leaks. Generally, it has been found that most water savings occur through the proper maintenance of existing fixtures and plumbing, rather than through fixture upgrades. Even the most expensive, technologically advanced toilet is a waste if a leak goes without repair. A small leak can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day, while a large leak can waste hundreds of gallons. Water audits that detect leaks and identify outdated fixtures often offer fast savings. Among the areas targeted by the Water Conservation Audit are:

Flush Toilets
Low flush toilets have the potential to save up to 77% of the water used. This audit will identify water savings and the costs associated with fixture replacement. Usually the payback period will be relatively short even before factoring in the rebates often offered by local water utilities.

Waterless Urinals
Waterless urinals are usually cheaper than their flush counterparts, and are also more hygienic and less expensive to maintain. Eash waterless urinal can save up to 40,000 gallons of water annually - more than the average person uses for all of their water needs in a single year.

Faucets and Showerheads
All faucets and showerheads should be equipped with low-flow aerators, reducing water flow to a maximum of 2.75 gallons per minute. This is a relatively straight-forward and painless way to conserve water with minimal financial outlay.

Appliances, Irrigation, and other Uses
In addition to the building's fixtures, appliances with significant water use are analyzed, when found. This can include dishwashers, clothing washers, and any other appliances hooked up to the water system. Water use outside the building will also be analyzed.

Besides identifying ways to cut water usage, this audit also suggests ways to reuse water. Rain water can be collected for irrigating or other non-potable uses. Water can be reused in manufacturing and rinsing procedures. And water used for cooling can be recirculated within the HVAC system. All these water conservation potentials are analyzed and evaluated in a final detailed report.
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* May not be fully accurate!