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Water Efficiency: Getting Ahead with the Water Savings Network

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Sep 30, 2021
Domestic water use infographic

Over the past 50 years, U.S. population has doubled while demand for water has tripled. As demand increases and climate impacts further diminish water resources, deliberate conservation is crucial to improve resilience while saving energy and lowering operational costs.

U.S. EPA figure shows domestic water use (gal) per day, per person, and population growth by state from 2000-2015.

DOE is continuing its focus on water through the Better Buildings, Better Plants Water Savings Network. The Water Savings Network includes leading Better Buildings and Better Plants partners who are interested in a focus on water efficiency, whether that is through setting a water reduction goal, sharing proven water-savings solutions, or participating in peer exchange events.  

Through the Network, participants will focus on a few key opportunities:

Water savings, which bring both financial and environmental benefits, are achieved through shifts in external use and on-site recycling and reuse.

  • Decreasing external water useAdoption and optimization of water-efficient tactics decreases demand on supplying aquifers, which already face demand beyond replenishment capacity in many areas of the country.
  • Maximizing water collected, treated, and reused on-site – Collection and treatment strategies minimize treatment and transport loss and reduce energy demand. Read about Emory University’s innovative on-site solution, WaterHub, a Better Buildings Implementation Model.


Water shortages are disruptive to business operations, residents, and services. Impacts can be mitigated by adopting a water efficiency plan using resources collected for the Water Savings Network:

  • Plant Water Profiler Tool (PWPEx)this tool helps manufacturing plants understand their water use, calculate the “true cost” of water, and identify opportunities for water savings.
  • Water Efficiency – this recorded presentation, as part of the online learning series, discusses barriers and solutions for industrial water efficiency efforts and highlights the PWPEx tool and its usefulness for three In-Plant Trainings.
  • Water Management Plans and Best Practices at EPA – the guide outlines the EPA’s top 10 water management best practices including case studies for individual tactics.
  • Water Demand Calculator – this spreadsheet-based tool offers users the opportunity to determine expected water demand for a variety of uses to establish a baseline and inform metrics.
  • Design Elements of a Net Zero Water Building – four strategies for building- and campus-level projects are defined along with tips for operational success in this detailed guide.
  • EDF-GEMI WaterMAPP – this toolkit includes the EDF-GEMI Water Scorecard, Water Efficiency Calculator, and Cycles of Concentration Estimator, which provide guidance for organizations to build their water and energy efficiency programs. Organizations can learn how to best utilize the toolkit in this webinar.
  • WaterSense – EPA’s voluntary partnership program offers partners a robust array of tools, resources, and case studies to achieve water efficiency across sectors.


To learn more about water efficiency, the nexus between water savings and energy reduction, and strategies for implementing and scaling water efficiency projects, organizations can visit the Better Buildings Solution Center and join the Water Savings Network.