One Trick to Reduce Your Water Consumption by 25% July 8, 2015 | Samantha Dubrow

It’s been a month since the California water rationing laws went into effect, and thousands of buildings across the state have been expected to reduce their water consumption by 25%.Have you been successful in your water saving efforts yet?

To be honest, it almost feels like this law is setting everyone up for failure. How could we possibly reduce water consumption by that much? I bet your tenants haven’t quite gotten on board with the idea of eating lunch off dirty dishes because they aren’t allowed to use the dishwasher.
I come bearing good news. I think we may have cracked the code.
Buckle your seatbelt and hold on tight – I’m about to share the one simple trick that will help you actually cut your water consumption by 25% this summer.
Ready? Let’s go.

Scheduling, Scheduling, Scheduling

Yep, that’s the answer. A water scheduling adjustment will not alter how much water your tenants are allowed to use, will not decrease tenant satisfaction, and will not cost you a penny to implement. Scheduling adjustments will, however, help you reach the water rationing goals set by the state of California.

Here is an example of a building with a standard cooling tower. The cooling tower is set to consume water whenever the amount it has stored dips below a certain point. The blue sections are the building’s normal operating hours, which are 8am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. There are spikes during working hours, but water is consumed consistently throughout the week and the weekend.

After seeing the real-time data for this cooling tower’s consumption, the building’s owners made a scheduling change using the BAS, telling the cooling tower to only consume water during weekly operating hours. Now, the building is only consuming water when it is being used by tenants, and far less water is being wasted.

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This scheduling change saved 15% of the cooling tower’s water consumption! That’s more than half the battle toward a 25% reduction.
In some buildings, up to 29% of the water consumption occur during non-operating hours. In the graph below, the blue sections are operating hours, while the pink sections are non-operating hours such as nights and weekends. Areas of unnecessary consumption are highlight in blue boxes during non-operating hours.
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So, California’s goals may not be so unrealistic after all.

What Water Metering Means for California Water Rationing

This information is from a small sample of buildings because so few buildings have real-time water metering with data they can access remotely at any time.

We have also used water submetering to identify cooling towers that were consuming 60-65% of the building’s water, when they should have only been consuming 25-30%. Once you identify problems, the solutions are simple. Just as we have been metering electricity for several years, it is finally becoming a standard to monitor water the same way. Because, as we have learned, we can only manage what we measure.

What Now?

Right now you should do two things.

 

  • Meet with your team to discuss your cooling tower’s scheduling, and change it so water is only being taken in during operating hours.
  • Make the decision to invest in water submetering and real-time water data.

 

Water submetering is the most practical solution to accurately and permanently reduce your water consumption. And, it is a better option than telling your tenants you’re not turning on the building’s air conditioning this summer because the HVAC uses too much water.
With real-time monitoring you will keep your equipment running efficiently and keep your tenants happy and reach the California water rationing goals faster than your neighbors!
What are you waiting for?!

 

Energy Consumption, Energy Efficiency, real-time data, Water Rationing

About The Author

When Samantha isn’t writing for the blog or managing our HR like a champ, she studies Organizational Psychology at George Washington University.