As seen in recent news, cutting energy costs and increasing reliance on renewable energy continues to be a core focus in the UK. While the government has pledged that the country will be carbon-neutral by 2050, there is still much to do in order to reach that goal.
Businesses have a huge part to play in the reduction of carbon emissions, and one area that tends to get overlooked is water usage. Supplying clean, drinking water requires a lot of energy, so if businesses can be more water-efficient, this can help reduce the strain on the demand for water and help protect the environment.
In this short post, we’ll cover some of the steps businesses can take to reduce their water usage.
Why Should You Care About Water Usage?
There are many reasons why businesses should care about water usage. All types and sizes of businesses can benefit from increased water efficiency, whether water is an integral part of your operations or you are simply using water for bathrooms and taps.
The first reason, and usually why companies tend to look into water efficiency, is that reducing your water usage, or simply using water efficiently, can have a positive impact on your water bills, meaning this can significantly reduce costs.
But water efficiency is more than just looking at costs. Being more water-efficient means the business can have a more conscious approach to how this natural resource is being used, to avoid unnecessary usage, reduce wastewater or make sure water is recycled where possible. This, in time, will reduce the demand, which means the business is helping to protect the environment, by reducing carbon emissions.
Choosing the Right Water Supplier
Since the opening of the water market in Scotland (2008) and England (2017), businesses can now choose which water retailer they want to be with. Retailers will deal with the regional wholesalers who are in charge of operating and maintaining the water and wastewater system.
The increased competition means that retailers are offering better services in order to attract and retain customers. If your current retailer does not offer water efficiency services, or you are not entirely satisfied with services offered, it may be time to change water supplier to one that will not only help you cut costs but also support your business through the whole process, from understanding how you use water to implementing solutions that will make you more water-efficient.
What is Involved in a Water Audit?
The first step to understanding how your business uses water is to perform a full audit. As we’ve mentioned, this is something your water retailer should be able to help you with, but you can also find many guides and checklists that can help you get started. Some of the areas investigated can include:
- Water meters and meter readings
- Wastewater / trade effluent allowance and agreements
- Efficiency of equipment and facilities used by the business
- Water management and setting up KPIs
- Efficiency plans with suppliers / contractors
- Leaks and other required repairs
Once the audit is completed, you should have a better idea of areas where improvements can be made. This enables you to then draft a plan on how to achieve these improvements and become more water-efficient.