The Ultimate Guide to Water Conservation Terminology for Businesses
Water waste is a serious issue for businesses. Water is a critical environmental resource, and conserving it is an important sustainability practice. Plus, from a financial perspective, water waste can make a company’s operating costs unnecessarily high.
Implementing water-efficiency practices can decrease water and energy costs by 10-15% —while also helping protect the planet. There are lots of different ways to go about water conservation, with innovative new technologies on the market that can drive down consumption and costs more than ever before.
Yet, before you can create a water-saving strategy, you may need to familiarize yourself with some of the common terminology used to talk about water consumption and efficiency. At Budderfly, we’re experts on energy and water conservation for businesses. Below, we’ve outlined what we think are some of the key words and phrases to know when it comes to water.
About water consumption
Water meter: A water meter is a device that measures the volume of water that passes through pipes, and it is how utility companies know how much to charge for water usage.
Water rates: This refers to the cost of water from the utility. Water rates vary based on location, service provider and other factors. For example, water rates are higher in urban areas. Plus, water rates are constantly changing, and they increase by roughly 25% each year.
Centum Cubic Feet (CCF): This is the most common measurement for water rates by utilities, which is equivalent to about 748 gallons.
Hundred Cubic Feet (HCF): This is the same as CCF, and different utilities will use different versions.
Water lines: Water lines are the pipes or tubes that carry water from a utility's source to buildings and homes. In the U.S., most water lines were installed in WWII, making them almost 100 years old. Because of this, there are often many issues caused by the aging equipment that have to be fixed.
Water pressure: This is the force that moves water through the pipes and impacts how strongly water flows out of a tap. Water pressure can be affected by many different factors, and issues can arise if it’s too low or too high. Low pressure can be caused by problems such as high demand, equipment failures, or blocked service pipes. High pressure may be caused by trapped air, and if left unchecked can damage pipes or cause flooding. Changes in water pressure can be a sign of a larger plumbing issue.
About water conservation
Water efficiency: Water waste is very common and can be caused by bad habits (such as leaving water running unnecessarily), faulty equipment (such as a leaky tap), or inefficient technology. Water efficiency refers to practices and technology that reduce water consumption by reducing or eliminating this waste.
Flow rate: This is a measurement of the volume of water that passes over a certain period of time. It is often used to measure the efficiency of a water fixture, such as a tap. A higher flow rate is considered less efficient, as it uses more water in the same period of time and increases the likelihood of waste.
GPM: Gallons per minute (GPM) is a unit commonly used to measure flow rate.
Low flow: This is a type of plumbing fixture—such as taps, toilets, and shower heads—designed to save water. They have a lower flow rate for faucets or, for toilets, use less water per flush. There are federal mandates about the efficiency of these fixtures, requiring certain flow rates and gallons-per-flush across residential and commercial properties.
Touchless/hand-free: This is another type of water-saving technology. Touchless or hand-free sinks use motion sensors to turn on and off only when someone is actively using them. This reduces the likelihood of water waste caused by leaving the water running while not in use or not turning off the faucet fully after use.
Pipe insulation: Pipe insulation involves covering pipes in protective materials to regulate their temperature. This can help prevent heat being lost as hot water travels through pipes. When pipes are not insulated, you may have to wait longer for hot water to flow from a tap, which wastes both water and energy consumption. Pipe insulation can also help prevent pipes from freezing or bursting during colder months.
Rainwater harvesting: This refers to the practice of collecting rainwater and storing it for use throughout a building or to water a garden. This practice helps reduce the need for clean, treated water from the utility, as you don’t need potable water to flush a toilet, for example. Recycling rainwater diminishes water waste and water costs.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your business can reduce water waste and drive down utility costs, contact us today.