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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.

Upgrade older equipment and fixtures

Flush valve toilets and urinals
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 (doc) 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 toilets
Premium toilets (pdf) use 1.1 gpf or less and are the most efficient WaterSense models. 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. Premium toilets use 20% less water and remove 70% more solid waste, compared to regular WaterSense toilets.
Tips and recommendations:

Refrigeration systems
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.

Kitchen equipment

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • About ice machines
    Ice machines from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) third-tier list of 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.

Laundry equipment
The 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 a water-guzzling standard model to the highest efficiency that one can afford.

Other water-saving technologies

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 your employees on how they can save water 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.

Contact

For more information contact Commercial Water Conservation Program Manager, Elise Evans, at elise.evans@seattle.gov or (206) 773-9137.