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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

11/01/2013

Slash Water Use with Free Resources

Reduce water demand up to 40% with water efficiency tools

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    Restrooms are major users of water in many commercial building types, accounting for more than a third of the water consumption in an average office building.

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    Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

A suite of free water efficiency tools can help buildings (especially those with cooling towers) reduce their water demand by 14-40%.

The Building Water Efficiency Toolkit was developed through Environmental Defense Fund pilot projects at AT&T facilities in summer and fall 2012. The telecom giant opted for the measures that made the most business sense, such as an upgrade to a cooling tower filtration system that cost under $100,000 to install but is predicted to result in over $60,000 in annual water and sewer savings.

Similarly, a $4,000 equipment upgrade to expand free air cooling should result in nearly $40,000 in savings per year. AT&T’s cooling towers alone use approximately 1 billion gallons per year, roughly a third of the company’s annual water use. Their goal is to lower annual consumption by 150 million gallons.

“People know these cooling systems use a lot of energy, but nobody had ever focused on how much water they guzzle or how we could reduce that ‘aqua-print,’” says Tom Murray, vice president of corporate partnerships at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Even we were surprised by what we were able to achieve with AT&T. It’s a huge opportunity for companies to save water and money and help out the communities where they operate.”

The toolkit is available here.

 

 
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