Water Savings Solutions from CA to PA

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Aug 31, 2016

It’s easy to justify making water conservation a priority when just reducing water use by 20 percent can net almost $50,000 in savings in some markets. Even outside a drought-affected region, it’s smart to save water.

The benefits of water savings are economic and environmental, and partners in the Better Buildings Challenge tell us the obstacles to achieving water savings aren't impossible to overcome. From difficulty tracking water at the meter to not having designated water management staff -- partners still are finding unique ways to conserve money and water.

In the case of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the California drought drove it to cut water usage significantly by taking a hard look into its least efficient systems, while remaining cognizant of guests comfort. Sustainability is a very big part of Loews corporate culture – check out the Gold Wrench Awards to see how the company motivates engineering managers to find new and better ways of saving energy.

Loews Santa Monica realized the on-premise laundry facility was its largest water consumption source; it can process up to 6,500 pounds of laundry a day. After investigating several options, Loews decided to install the AquaRecycle system which now recycles 70 to 85 percent of laundry water through a disinfecting filtration system, allowing for major water reuse. Loews was able to pay for the system through water and gas rebates from local utilities. Since implementing the AquaRecycle system in January 2015, as well various water fixture upgrades in guestrooms, the hotel has saved more than 6.27 million gallons of water and over $49,000 dollars.

On the east coast, the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pennsylvania captured its water savings through an HVAC retrofit project at its South Campus location. The college’s original HVAC system was served by two gas-fired steam boilers and two steam absorption chillers. Steam was primarily used to serve the chillers, and the boilers were sized to match those loads, which meant they were oversized for the smaller heating load. This led to problems with high humidity throughout the buildings.

When CCAC selected a firm for the HVAC retrofit, the company proposed additional solutions – including a smaller rooftop chiller and plumbing retrofits. The new electric chillers required less water, as the use of steam was eliminated from the building. CCAC also lowered maintenance costs and gained better control of the humidity levels. CCAC’s projected final savings for this project are 38 percent, or $43,000. 

For more information on exactly how these partners financed and implemented water saving solutions, check out the Better Buildings Solution Center, and make sure to explore other ways Better Buildings partners are saving money by saving water.