Water conservation is essential for businesses of all sizes. It saves money, reduces environmental impact, and improves employee morale. In this article, guest author Zachary Amos shares eight tips and tricks for businesses to save water across their operations.
Freshwater is a finite and indispensable resource, and overusing it can harm ecosystems, reduce biodiversity and degrade habitats. When businesses reduce their water use, they contribute to broader sustainability goals, ensuring the planet remains healthy for future generations.
On the economic front, water conservation leads to lower operational costs. As freshwater becomes more scarce and its value increases, businesses that have reduced their water consumption will be shielded from potential price hikes. Moreover, certain regions offer financial incentives or rebates for businesses that adopt water-saving measures, giving them more reason to switch to more sustainable practices.
Sustainability efforts and Corporate Social Responsibility
Businesses are already seeing the benefits of adopting remote work for the environment, which accounts for lowered carbon emissions — 25% for daytime and 34% for nighttime commutes — and better employee productivity. As they look for other ways to broaden their sustainability, water conservation is a natural step forward, especially in areas facing water shortages. When businesses lessen their dependence on external water sources, they can minimize operational disruptions.
Governments around the world recognize the urgency of water scarcity, and they might enforce stricter regulations. Companies ahead of the curve in their conservation efforts will be better positioned to overcome such regulatory limitations in the future.
In terms of operational efficiency, reevaluating and refining operations to conserve water can lead to improved processes and stimulate innovative approaches to both production and product development.
Companies that commit to saving water enhance their public image, appealing to an increasingly environmentally-conscious consumer base. Additionally, as investors and stakeholders place greater emphasis on sustainability metrics, businesses that can demonstrate water-saving initiatives might find themselves with a competitive edge.
Companies that actively conserve water can support their localities, especially in drought-prone areas. Such efforts can also boost employee morale, with staff taking pride in working for a company that values environmental stewardship. Looking at the bigger picture, global challenges related to water scarcity mean that businesses can play a significant role in addressing a critical issue.
Tips for conserving water
Water conservation requires a multifaceted approach, from large-scale changes to the main water management system to educating employees about the importance of saving water. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Conduct a water audit
Start by determining how much water your business uses and identify areas where water waste occurs. Many local utilities offer free water audits, which can give insights into potential areas of savings.
2. Install low-flow fixtures
Leave the high-flow fixtures where they matter. For example, cleaning companies and some factories may need pressure washers to conduct their business. You can replace older toilets with low-flow or dual-flush models and install faucet aerators and shower heads in restrooms, since these areas can go by with a low-pressure water supply.
3. Regular maintenance
Check for leaks regularly, as even a small drip can waste a significant amount of water over time. Repair malfunctioning equipment that uses water, such as cooling systems or dishwashers. Companies must train their employees to report leaks and broken faucets or pipes immediately to maintenance.
4. Upgrade equipment and processes
Use water-efficient dishwashers, ice machines and washing machines. Implement water recycling systems in manufacturing or processing plants by installing rainwater harvesting systems and utilizing gray water from sinks and showers for non-potable purposes like flushing toilets and irrigation systems. For businesses involved in producing goods, consider altering recipes or production methods to use less water.
5. Implement drought-resistant landscaping
Choose native plants that require less water. Replace turf with mulch, gravel or hardscaping to reduce the need for irrigation. Use drip irrigation systems instead of sprinklers, which are more efficient. If decorative water features are crucial for your business, make sure they recirculate water instead of drawing from the main supply.
6. Optimize cooling systems and reduce water in cleaning
In facilities where cooling towers are used, ensure they operate efficiently and switch to air-cooled systems rather than water-cooled where possible. When the weather allows, choose natural ventilation to cool down the area to minimize the use of cooling towers.
Provide an area where employees can clean up and pack away wet umbrellas, shoes and coats to minimize the need for constant carpet and curtain washing. Use brooms or blowers to clean large areas like parking lots instead of hosing them down and use dry carpet cleaning methods.
7. Adopt water management technologies
Install smart irrigation systems that can adjust based on weather conditions. If your office must have plants, choose ones that require less water and use moisture sensors to ensure they are watered only when necessary.
8. Create a water conservation policy
Formalize your business’s commitment to saving water and hire a sustainability officer to ensure the company is on track with its environmental goals. Your water conservation policy can outline practices, goals and responsibilities. Incentivize departments that go above and beyond when it comes to water conservation to motivate everyone to do the same.
Eyes on the prize
Water conservation is more than just a public relations gimmick but a strategic business decision. With resources becoming scarcer and consumer awareness about sustainability rising, businesses stand to gain immensely from water conservation efforts.
Businesses that reduce water consumption and adopt water management techniques cut down on operational costs and shield themselves from water shortages. Conserving water goes beyond corporate social responsibility — it is a pathway to resilience, profitability and a competitive edge in the market.
Zach is the Features Editor at ReHack.com, where he focuses on a plethora of trending technology topics such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, smart homes, and sustainability.
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