Commercial and Industrial Facilities
It's good for your bottom line and the environment to adopt water-efficient procedures, equipment and technology for space cooling, refrigeration, laundry, cleaning, and flushing bathroom fixtures.
Get Cash Incentives to Cut Water Use
Commercial and industrial customers of water utilities in the Saving Water Partnership can get financial incentives to implement water-conservation measures.
Toilets and Urinals
$75 - $150 rebate when replacing older toilets and urinals with efficient models:
- Flush Valve Toilet & Urinal rebate - $100
High-efficiency commercial flush-valve toilets have achieved excellent performance and customer satisfaction. WaterSense urinals have been independently tested and certified to meet specific criteria as established by the EPA WaterSense program.
Tips and recommendations:
- Test toilet fixtures and flush-valve combinations before committing to a retrofit of your fixtures.
- Follow the Flush Valve Toilets and Urinals Commissioning Checklist (docx) when installing any new fixture.
- View case studies of high-efficiency toilets and urinals installed in landmark buildings and in a large office tower.
- Tank Toilet rebate - $75 or $150
WaterSense toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) or less and have been independently tested and certified to meet specific criteria as established by the EPA WaterSense program. These fixtures are proven to provide reliable water savings and performance, and they achieve superior savings—a minimum of 20% better than current plumbing code fixtures.
Premium WaterSense toilets (xls) use 1.06 gpf or less and are the most efficient WaterSense models. These toilets use 20% less water and remove 70% more solid waste, compared to regular WaterSense toilets.
- $75 rebate per toilet towards 1.28 gpf or less WaterSense toilets.
- $150 rebate per toilet towards 1.06 gpf or less Premium WaterSense toilets.
Tips and recommendations:
- Test toilet fixtures before committing to a retrofit of your fixtures.
- Follow the Tank Toilet Commissioning Checklist (docx) when installing any new fixture.
Rebates for up to 50% of costs for projects involving space cooling, refrigeration systems and industrial ice-makers. View rebate >
In almost all cases, single-pass use of water for cooling is highly wasteful and expensive. Many water-saving options are available - from replacing the equipment with air-cooled equipment, re-circulating the water through a remote refrigeration unit, or tapping an existing source of chilled re-circulating water.
Up to $1,500 for replacing inefficient commercial kitchen equipment with water-efficient equipment. View rebates >
- About Food Steamers
Standard boiler-based steam cookers draw hot water the entire time the equipment is on. This water that you have paid for and paid to heat is going down the drain while the equipment is on. In addition, more water is wasted to cool down the hot water as it goes down the drain. An inefficient six-pan steamer could be using over 170,000 gallons of water per year. With an SWP rebate and the money you will save on energy and water bills, you could recover the cost of a new steamer in less than two years.
- About Dish Washers
ENERGY STAR commercial dishwashers are on average 25% more water efficient and 25% more energy efficient and will use an average of 1,000 fewer gallons per week than old inefficient commercial dishwashers. In addition, ENERGY STAR models use significantly less energy, mainly by heating water more efficiently. Because of this extra benefit SWP has teamed up with energy suppliers to offer incentives for Energy-Star commercial dishwashers. ENERGY STAR brands can save hundreds of dollars a year.
- About Ice Machines
Only the super-efficient ice machines from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) third-tier list of machines qualify for SWP rebates. These machines have air-cooled condensers and are very efficient making the ice with little water waste. These machines could save you up to $1,000 per year on your water bills and will virtually eliminate water discharged down the sewer, for even greater utility bill savings.
Cooling Tower Improvements
Cooling Tower Incentive Program is currently accepting applications to participate in this research and incentive pilot program. View details >
- Cooling Tower Workshop
The Cool Tunes Manual and workshop series that took place in 2010 and 2011 provided attendees with cutting edge information and hands-on experience with efficiently-operated cooling towers. Information on the following items can be found in greater detail in the Cool Tunes Manual and in selected links and videos from the workshop series.
- Get your free Cool Tunes Manual (pdf)
- See footage from the workshop's main presenter, Michael Groh.
- Real-time chemical control, Electronic conductivity sensors, and highly-functioning float valves (video)
- Metering of make-up, blowdown, and overflow
- Off season treatment (video)
- Hybrid cooling towers (video)
- Frequent calibration of all controllers (video)
Rebates up to 50% for steam sterilizers, medical air and vacuum systems, x-ray processing and other medical equipment. View rebates >
- Steam sterilizers/autoclaves
There are two basic types of machines: gravity and vacuum. During standby mode, condensate is constantly formed and discharged from the chamber. This relatively constant flow is tempered (cooled) by using cold fresh water at a constant flow before being allowed to discharge into the sewer. This form of trap cooling is in effect 24/7 unless the machines are turned off. It is very common, however, to leave this equipment in standby mode.
A trap cooling retrofit kit will allow the exiting hot condensate to cool in an expansion chamber and is monitored for temperature. When the desired temperature is reached, discharge can occur without using any, or very little, cold fresh water to reduce the temperature further.
A vacuum autoclave uses water flow to create a vacuum during the drying phase of the sterilization process. The rate can be as high as 14 gpm once-through constant flow. A new water-conservation technology is to install a vacuum switch in series with the ejector solenoid valve that controls water flow. When the desired vacuum in the autoclave chamber is reached, the solenoid valve is closed and the flow of water is interrupted.
Typical savings for the trap cooling retrofit kit is above 90% which leads to a payback of less than one year at a cost of about $2,500 each. Savings for the vacuum switch has been verified at 35%. Depending on how many cycles per day the unit completes, savings can over $2,000 per unit, again providing a payback of approximately one year or less.
- Medical air and vacuum systems
Once-through liquid ring medical air and vacuum systems are reliable, but, like the use of other once-through water cooling technologies, has become very costly because of the associated large consumption of water and then the cost of sewer discharge. Another factor is energy efficiency. Given the age of many of the units still in use, energy efficiency can be enhanced significantly by switching to new air-cooled units installed in series with variable speed motors and sized to come on in stages based on the load required. With high-efficiency motors, overall horsepower is reduced, and less-than-full-load horsepower is greatly reduced. It’s a win-win for water and energy, with combined energy and water rebates often available.
- Other medical equipment
Glass washers, cart washers, cage cleaning stations, electron microscopes, image processing, reverse osmosis (RO) production and more could consume high quantities of water in medical or lab settings, and very likely have potential for better water use efficiency. The options will normally fall into these general areas:
- New air-cooled versus water-cooled equipment
- Reducing number of rinse cycles like in a glass washer
- Using already used water when lower quality can produce equal results compared to fresh potable water like in a cage cleaning station.
- Recirculate water for continued use like in a water-cooled electron microscope.
- For RO production increase the production rate and decrease the reject water, or capture the reject water and use in another process like a cooling tower, or a cleaning process.
$200 rebates for efficient coin-op machines (Tier 3) or up to 50% of large system improvements.
View rebate >
The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) has been rating family-style clothes washers, residential and commercial coin-op, for over 10 years, since the first high-efficiency machines began to make inroads into the retail market. Since those early models, which were up to 50% more efficient than the standard top-loading models, efficiency has increased by that amount again in the highest Tier 3 models. It really pays to upgrade from either a water-guzzling standard model to the highest efficiency that one can afford.
Financial incentives and technical assistance are available for multifamily or commercial customers with one acre or more of irrigated area.
Other Water-Saving Technologies
Rebates for up to 50% of project costs. View rebates >
The potential for water efficiency is limited sometimes by technology (too expensive or experimental) or a lack of creativity that has yet to invent tomorrow’s solution. The vacuum switch for vacuum style autoclaves is a perfect example of a creative solution. But there are other tried and true solutions that simply need an advocate to get started. Carwash reclaim systems, more efficient nozzle spray patterns in kitchen spray heads and large vehicle washes are proven to save cost effectively. The Saving Water Partnership can assist businesses in seeking solutions where there is a desire to reduce water consumption, become more sustainable, or simply reduce utility costs.
Involve Your Employees in Water Conservation
Your employees can help you save water and cut your utility bills, so educate them on water conservation at your facility:
- Check for leaks and emphasize leak reporting and repair.
- Consider alternatives to discretionary uses of water that are not related to health and safety. For example, use a broom instead of a hose to routinely clean sidewalks and driveways.
- Turn off water-using equipment when not in use, including dishwashers, garbage disposals, and food troughs.
- Incorporate efficient use of water in kitchens for food preparation, food thawing and clean-up procedures.
- Eliminate daytime landscape watering and consider weather-based controllers.
- Reduce fleet washing as much as possible, or use water reclaim systems. Eliminate car lot washing and hosing.
- Train staff on the proper operation and maintenance of new water-using equipment.
For more information, contact Philip Paschke at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 684-5883.
Green Business Program can help you develop individual business solutions to save water and lower utility bills. Phone: (206) 343-8505
Cost Savings Calculator (xls) - Estimate how much money you can save on utility bills by switching to more efficient equipment, technology and procedures.
Cool Tunes Manual (pdf) See savings through consistent monitoring of chemical, conductivity, water make-up and blowdown, and any unusual spike in water consumption.
High-Efficiency Toilets - Find WaterSense-labeled toilets that use 20% less water than standard toilets.