Posted by:31 July, 2012
Every penny and every drop of water counts, so what opportunities are there for councils to make savings through water efficiency? Jo Pearce, policy & commercial develoment officer at Exeter City Council, pictured, discusses the work they have been doing with Source for Business into water efficiency.
Here at Exeter City Council we recently joined forces with Source for Business, South West Water’s dedicated service for business, which helps customers to analyse water use through a number of methods including water efficiency advice and a range of online billing and account services. Using this service we developed a strategic approach, enabling us to tackle inefficiencies and save water at ten of our public toilets and our two main offices where high levels of water are used.
Source for Business and its local partner EcoSave Ltd carried out free water audits at all of our high use sites. The audits considered the instances of water use, flow rates, capacities, efficiency monitoring and usage levels. The findings of each audit were then broken-down into areas for improvement, recommended products, costs and resulting overall water savings including payback and reduced costs thereafter. This made it simple and easy for us to see where savings could be made and what measures we needed to implement to get results.
In order to test predicted savings and how effective the recommended water efficiency products were, a trial was conducted at our busiest city centre toilet facility, Paris Street. A working project team of staff was set up, comprising toilet cleaners, cleansing supervisors and water engineers. This ensured a collaborative approach which could be subsequently initiated on our planned ten site water saving project.
The Paris Street toilets, receive 15,000 visitors each week making them the council’s highest water user. In 2011, they used 12m³ of water per day at a cost of £57 per day. On the recommendation of Source for Business, specialist water saving urinals, flush timers and Ecofill flush systems were fitted in the 18 cubicles at a cost of £3,285.90. After fitting the new equipment, the water usage in the toilets fell to 5.31m³ per day, reducing the cost of water to £25.16 per day. The water audit from Source for Business was completely free and the only expenditure was installing the cost-saving devices. We will see a return of these investments within the first six months. In fact, to date the Paris Street site has indicated predicted savings of over £10,000 against last year’s water and sewerage bill.
Together with Source for Business we are now looking at other water saving solutions, such as rain water harvesting, and we will continue to strive to reduce the effects of our services on the environment and in turn, reduce our costs through resource efficiency.
The water efficiency surveys have been fundamental to reducing our water consumption. The new water saving products recommended not only reduced our water consumption, but also provided substantial financial savings. The support and guidance from Source for Business and EcoSave has really generated a sense of accomplishment across all our employees.
Jo Pearce, policy & commercial development officer, Exeter City Council
Source for Businesses’ top 10 tips for reducing water usage in your business:
- Appoint a member of staff to monitor water usage and identify water-saving measures i.e. through regular site checks and Business Accounts Online
- Check your meter reading regularly, install a data logger to monitor flow and identify leaks
- Develop a water management plan for your site
- Educate employees about implementing water saving measures
- Ensure new equipment is water and energy efficient – it will pay off in the long term
- Fit water-efficient devices i.e. push-taps, low-flush toilets, flow regulators or restricters. The payback can be as little as five weeks
- Fix dripping taps and leaks as quickly as possible
- Install a hippo or save-a-flush device in toilets to reduce water use
- Invest in alternative water sources i.e. rainwater harvesting
- Review your plans to reduce water use at least once a year
To book a free consultation or to find out more about water efficiency advice visit www.sourceforbusiness.co.uk or call 0800 23 00 756
From The Little Things
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