14 Jul Save Water – Save Money
Saving water for businesses and saving money too
Water, water everywhere and not a free drop to drink.
(With the current hot and dry weather (Summer 2018) we thought it timely to re-post this article)
I have been thinking a lot about water, most days (here in Scotland anyway) it seems to fall from the sky freely, but few of us have the luxury of our own water source.
What started this train of thought was a well-known bottled water brand being retailed at 94p for 500ml. That is £1,880 per Cubic Metre. If that was the price that most businesses paid then they would be pretty quick to install water saving equipment. OK that price is extreme. Sainsbury’s sell two litres of water for 25p which is still £125 per m3. I use these examples as I am pretty sure that very few people who read this actually know what their business pays for water. Even fewer will realise that for every litre of water you use you are charged more by the water authority to dispose of that water.
So what are the charges in Scotland?
Well it all depends on what size of water pipe that brings water into your building and how much you use. Even in this modern day, not every business has a water meter, which can be problematic, but I will come back to water meters later.
Scottish Water costs 85p per m3. However the water companies charge £1.43 to dispose of that same m3. So the true cost is £2.28 per m3. Not too bad when compared to Strathmore Spring or Sainsburys(other brands are available)
‘Ah but I don’t pour bottled water down the toilet’ I hear you say, well technically you do but only once your body has processed it.
Most businesses have little idea of what they spend on water. What I would like to cover over the next few articles is the various ways to save water in the workplace. Looking at both the pros and cons of various systems. There is not one fix for all. I am going to concentrate mostly on the washroom area as in most businesses that is where the largest waste occurs, but for those of you wishing to explore this further there is some great info at Resource Efficient Scotland (http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com) including how to complete a water audit.
There are several guilty parties in the water wastage league, but in reality anything that uses water, dispenses water or carries water has the potential to cause wastage and should be checked regularly.
Water saving can be easy!
A dripping tap can waste a lot of water but the biggest cause of waste is taps being left on. Minutes add up to hours and hours add up to days.
In the past push taps were used to limit flow. These were expensive to fit. There is retro fit push taps now available but the world has moved on and sensor taps are the greenest option: even though they require a small electricity source (battery or mains) in order to work. There are of course disadvantages (more specifically in a domestic environment) but on the whole sensor taps work best because:
- They only work when your hands are under the sink*
- The flow can be controlled, so less mess from splashing
- There is less surface area to clean
- They need cleaned less often
- Temperature is fixed
*Certain sensors can be triggered by reflective clothing (high viz jackets, etc) so always check especially if fitting in an industrial/warehouse setting
Most modern cisterns have a full flush and half flush option. I have yet to find a retro fit split flush system for a toilet but to be fair I haven’t looked very hard. Older cisterns can be anything from 9-11 Litres per flush so reducing the water held in the cistern is an easy way to reduce waste and save money.
There are commercial options for this, toilet hippo for example which is a bag which holds water soluble polymers that swell up and reduce the water volume. You can get up to 2 free from Scottish Water here.
There is a cheaper way. Use an old 1L or 1.5L soft drinks bottle, (remove the label) fill it with water and drop it in the cistern – same effect, less cost. Another option is to place a brick in the cistern. All these options create less available space and therefor reduce the water wastage in each flush – none are as good as a half flush option on a new system.
Next article we’ll look at what really causes the problems with wasted water – Urinals are the guilty party!
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