Tricks Of The Trade: Water Conservation

By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the June 2006 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q I would like to create a proactive water conservation program for our office, but I don’t know where to start. What advice can you give me on various ways and means of conserving water for the facility?

Santosh Menon
Assistant Facility Manager
Johnson Controls
Chennai, Tamilandu (India)

A Here are some starting places for a conservation program.

  1. Restrooms. Install ultra low flow toilets that require only 1.6 gallons (six liters) per flush. Check existing toilets periodically for leaks (on average, 20% of toilets leak) and repair them promptly. Replace standard urinals with waterless, no-flush urinals. Insulate hot water pipes and electric water heaters. This reduces the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap, saving water and energy. Automatic faucets and flushvalves are other items which come in handy for reducing water waste.
  2. Breakroom/kitchens. Install tankless, instant, hot water systems. These reduce energy and eliminate the need to keep a tank full of water.
  3. Landscaping. Consider options that conserve water and protect the environment.

There are seven basic principles which can help save water:

  • Planning and design;
  • Soil analysis;
  • Practical turf areas;
  • Appropriate plant selection;
  • Efficient irrigation;
  • Use of mulches; and
  • Appropriate maintenance.

These suggestions might adapt to your program.

Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.