Conservation in the Office
You live an eco-friendly lifestyle. You save water every way you can at home. You have low-flow toilets and faucets installed, you take short showers and you’ve trained the kids to shut off the taps tightly so that they don’t drip. But what happens to your eco-friendly lifestyle when you get to work? Chances are your coworkers are not as environmentally conscious as you and that they will waste more water than you. The average office uses 14,695 gallons of water per day. If you are not the office manager, remind him or her that saving water will save energy costs and reduce overhead. Some cities even offer financial incentives to companies that practice water conservation in the office. Here are some steps you can take to practice conservation in the office.
Check the Restrooms
Does the plumbing leak? One leaking toilet can waste up to fifty gallons of water each day. Faucets in bathrooms and break rooms can be improved with affordable, low-flow aerators. Replacing the toilets with low-flow models is a more costly alternative, but it saves even more water. Urinals can also be replaced with programmable automatic flush systems to reduce the waste caused by a model that constantly runs. If your manager is not receptive to these ideas, take steps yourself and place displacement devices in the toilets to reduce their water usage. These devices can be as simple as a two-liter soda bottle weighted with gravel. Conservation in office restrooms may also be required by building codes; check to see if this is the case.
Is someone in the office responsible for cleaning, or does a cleaning crew come in? If a cleaning crew is used, speak with them or their supervisor about ways to improve water conservation in the office. When mopping, use the water efficiently. Spot mop to use less water, or use a mop system that doesn’t require water. Instead of steam-cleaning carpets, switch to dry cleaning systems. Be responsible and clean up messes quickly so that vacuuming alone can keep carpets sufficiently clean. Instead of washing windows frequently as part of a regular routine, wash them on an as-needed basis.
Heating and Cooling
Water heating can account for nine percent of the energy used in an office. Check the water heater at work. Is it the same size as the fifty-gallon tank that you have at home? You aren’t showering or washing dishes or clothing: is the heater really necessary? Ask your building owner about switching to a smaller tank or converting to a tankless system. If the cooling system is water-based, be sure to turn it off when it is not needed. Consider switching to an air-based cooling system.
Conservation in the office doesn’t stop inside—you can conserve water on the landscaping as well. Don’t water the landscaping during the day. Instead, water at night. Install sensor devices so that the watering system won’t run when it’s raining. Don’t plant grass which requires additional water to maintain. Switch to bark landscaping with shrubs and other plants that don’t require as much maintenance. Finally, make sure that you do not over-water the plants and landscaping, as this is one of the biggest causes of water waste.