12 tips for making properties more water efficient
Millions of gallons of water are wasted every day in the United States. While several factors contribute to that waste, the two main issues are undetected leaks caused by an aging infrastructure and faulty irrigation systems/procedures incorporated by scores of property owners.
Like energy, property owners and managers must begin monitoring their water use on a weekly basis to ensure efficiency, according to conservation firm WaterSignal.
Here are 12 tips for making properties more water efficient by pinpointing problems owners and managers might not otherwise detect:
- Compare water usage against a bill that is 12-24 months old, instead of auditing water usage by comparing against the previous month’s water bill. An undetected leak may have occurred several months ago.
- Common signs of an undetected leak include unexplained sudden increases in water use, consistently high water bills, and low water pressure.
- Compare water usage to see if one uses more water per square foot or per unit, if you have multiple buildings that are relatively the same size.
- Use technology that monitors water usage at the meter on an hourly basis to note trends and spikes that may indicate a leak, such as abnormally high usage at 3 a.m. when a building is empty, or generally less active.
- Use technology that will instantly alert you when water spikes above a preset limit. Pipe leaks can occur at anytime and thousands of gallons could be lost before a leak is detected.
- Tour the property monthly. Keep an eye out for wet spots and alligatored, heaving or cracked pavement. If you suspect a leak, check your water meter and write the usage down. Next, turn off the water and wait two hours. After two hours of no water use, check the meter again. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you may have a leak.
- Check water pressure on each building. Excessive pressure (more than 80 psi) can increase the chance of leaks, and may damage fixtures.
- Schedule irrigation cycles to water deeply and less frequently. For the spring, two to three days per week is better than daily quick run times. Longer irrigation cycles encourage deep rooting and increase soil moisture for all plants.
- Use indigenous plants to create a water-smart landscape that is both beautiful and efficient. Native plants require little water beyond normal rainfall.
- Install rain/freeze sensors. After all, how many times have we all seen irrigation systems on during rainfall?
- Adjust sprinkler pattern to match planting area. There is no need to water the pavement.
- Raise sprinklers that are blocked by plants to give the area even water coverage.
Topics: Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Energy Audit / Energy Management, Energy Saving Products, Environmental Firms, Exteriors, Office Buildings, Technology, Water Saving Strategies and Devices