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Efficient Water Management for Hotels: Strategies to Reduce Usage by 20%

Don’t let expenses drain you dry. A few upgrades can save you lots of cash.

Nobody wants to open an envelope to see a heart-stopping bill, this is especially true when you’re housing hundreds of people on a daily basis.

A study with the Seattle Public Utilities Company (SPUC) found that the typical hotel serving at least 75 rooms goes through about 100 gallons of water per room per day. Older or luxury hotels with more amenities like restaurants have to spend even more than that.

Through their study consisting of interviews and monitored case studies, the SPUC identified a variety of ways hotels can cut down on their water consumption and costs, which will be explained soon. The SPUC concluded that these water-saving measures can decrease consumption by up to 45 percent with 10 to 20 percent being the average for most hotels.

The SPUC found that even hotels that said they’ve integrated water-saving measures over the previous five years still had plenty of room for improvement.

Here’s how can take advantage of these methods and savings yourself…

First, decide how to measure water consumption

You can’t identify the ways you can lower your water consumption if you don’t even know how much water you’re consuming.

One method is to install water meters to measure the overall water usage of the hotel. These meters track water consumption in real-time, allowing hotels to monitor their daily, weekly, and monthly usage accurately. You could also implement sub-meters in different areas of the hotel, such as guest rooms, restaurants, kitchens, and laundry facilities. Sub-meters provide more detailed information about water consumption in specific areas

Upgrade your toilets

Maintaining your plumbing system is crucial. Quickly address any leaks your staff or guests report. One leaky sink can amount to 3,000 gallons of wasted water in a year. Even worse, a leaking toilet alone can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day according to the Texas Lodging Association.

The SPCU also notes that this is a big area of improvement for hotels. Installing low-flow toilets and other bathroom fixtures can have a substantial impact on daily water consumption. Gerber notes that installing high-efficiency, low-flow toilets can decrease consumption anywhere between 19 to 70 percent depending on the age of the previous toilet models and the new ones being installed.

Upgrade dishwashers

Newer dishwasher models are much more effective when it comes to saving water than the old ones. They’ve got fancy stuff like improved spray patterns, better water circulation, and efficient rinsing systems. All of this means your dishes are cleaned more effectively without using as much water every time you run a cycle.

Train kitchen and cleaning staff

In the same vein as dishwasher upgrades, train your kitchen staff on proper water-saving practices. It can be as simple as ensuring your staff only runs the dishwashers when they’re full and to pre-rinse dishes or utensils only when necessary. You can also teach kitchen staff to stack dishes efficiently to maximize the dishwasher’s capacity.

Instruct staff to turn off faucets when not in immediate use, such as while scrubbing pots and pans or when applying soap – this is a lesson that can also be explained to your cleaning staff. Don’t flush toilets and leave sinks or showers running when it isn’t necessary.

Even simple things such as mopping techniques can make a difference. Each staff member should wring out mops properly to avoid excessive water use and encourage the use of microfiber or absorbent materials that require less water for effective cleaning.

Replace ice machines

Both Gerber and the SPCU highlight the importance of upgrading this basic hotel feature.  Modern ice machines can produce ice more efficiently and use less water in the process. They incorporate newer technologies, such as improved insulation and optimized water flow.

Ice machines typically require occasional purging cycles to maintain the quality of the ice. Older models often consume an unnecessary amount of water during these cycles. Some upgraded ice machines have smart sensors and controls that regulate purging cycles more accurately, minimizing water usage.

These upgrades should apply to both guest and kitchen ice machines.

Don’t cheap out

What you think saves you money in the short term will cost you in the long term. Hotels may opt for lower-quality plumbing fixtures to save money, however, they are unlikely to be designed for efficient water saving.

These fixtures could have outdated or inefficient designs that ultimately result in higher water usage. Not to mention that cheaper plumbing fixtures are more likely to break, resulting in leaks or lower lifespan. This only leads to more maintenance costs which will ultimately negate any savings you think you secured in your initial purchase.