WATER EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION
Water, energy and climate change are interrelated. Taking steps to conserve water helps to reduce our overall energy consumption. Together, water conservation and energy efficiency help us to respond in a more responsible manner to the effects of climate change.
Because water, energy and climate change are interrelated, sustainable solutions require an integrated framework. This means developing a sustainable framework appropriate for your company or organization requires consideration of the whole picture.
How to Optimize Your Efforts
By creating a comprehensive plan that considers the interrelationship of your water, gas and electric use, waste outputs and overall operational processes, you will optimize your ability to achieve the greatest cost reductions while simultaneously realizing gains to your bottom line.
Some of the basic steps you can take to get started include:
- Implementing reliable, recognized metrics
- Using measurement tools that analyze the linkage between water and energy consumption to maximize conservation and savings
- Educating and training employees about water sources and water efficiency
- Integrating water into the mainstream of your corporate culture
What’s Next: Challenges & Benefits
But this is just a beginning. To truly do well and do good, it will be necessary for you to continue with additional commitments and goals-and build on those targets into the future.
While making a commitment to maximizing your water efficiency and conserving water may seem daunting in terms of time, money and resources, those businesses that have made the commitment will tell you that the gains and benefits far exceed the investment – in terms of reduced operating costs, wealth enhancement and brand promotion.
Making the commitment does not mean exceeding your capacities. Any commitment to sustainability should always set modest, incremental goals. These goals must have valid, credible metrics that measure progress in order to assess what is working, what isn’t, and where modifications are required. This should be followed by a published report that shares with your stakeholders the results of your efforts. This transparency has proven to be a successful strategy in fortifying the bottom line.
So what are your next steps?
Here’s a 10-step approach to creating a successful water conservation program for your business:
1. Make a commitment to water conservation
Experience shows that for any program to be successful, the desire to conserve water must be present from the highest level of management on down. Upper management should understand that water conservation is necessary and be fully committed to its support.
2. Appoint a Conservation Champion
Companies that assign responsibility to an individual have better results than those that do not. So give someone within your organization responsibility for creating, implementing and maintaining your water conservation program.
3. Measure Your Water Footprint
Conduct a water audit in order to determine how and where you use water. Know how much water is being used for each of your organization’s industrial processes and/or operational needs. To assist you in determining how your on-site water is being used, you may want to install sub-meters.
4. Learn about conserving water in the business environment
Learn from businesses that have already established a water conservation plan. You can adapt these suggestions to custom-fit your business and corporate culture, as well as innovate approaches that further help you to reduce your water consumption.
5. Check your system for leaks
Detect leaks by periodically shutting off all water-using facilities and reading the water meter (a great site that shows you how to read your meter is: http://water.cobbcountyga.gov/files/meterhowto.pdf). Measuring your water use at regular intervals helps you gauge both your water consumption, as well as detect leaks. If the dial on the meter moves, that means you have a leak somewhere on your facility. Repairing leaks as soon as possible will help you save significant money that is literally going down your drain.
6. Set a conservation goal
It is important to have realistic goals, but goals need to be high enough to require substantial effort. Allow these goals to serve as benchmarks. They will demonstrate the effectiveness of your water conservation program. As a result, you will promote your business as a leader and boost your brand.
7. Involve your employees
Teach water awareness. Many companies post signs throughout their facilities that raise water conservation awareness among employees. Creating competition among employees - e.g., establishing which division uses the least amount of water - is another idea. Once employees start thinking about the source and use of their water, water consumption decreases.
8. Install low flow devices
Use toilet tank displacement devices or install vacuum flush toilets. If you already have these types of toilets, make sure they are adjusted to use the minimum amount of water required per flush. All showering facilities should be equipped with low-flow showerheads. Showerheads with on-off valves provide the opportunity to conserve more water than those without. Similar measures should be taken for all faucet fixtures.
9. Be aware of water-efficient equipment
When replacing equipment or technologies, be aware of how much water the new equipment will use. Manufacturers are more aware of the need for water conservation, designing technologies that require less water. You may find you have a choice in your purchases, and water conservation could be a key determining factor in the selection process.
10. Monitor your results
Each water bill includes your consumption history. It’s possible for you to follow this history and get an immediate idea as to how well you are doing compared to last year during the same month’s billing period. Use charts, graphs and other records to keep track of your conservation progress.
Additionally, rebates are available for many types of water conservation devices and activities. Remember to ask about rebates from manufacturers, as well as your local government.
For more helpful information, visit:
Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)
In 2004, a new Georgia law was enacted that regulates the grease hauling and processing industry. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has created rules relating to this law, and is currently accepting applications from haulers to become registered to haul grease in the state. Visit http://www.georgiafog.com/ to register, see the original bill, and related EPD rules and regulations. Click on the links below for a list of registered haulers and a map of their service regions.
Registered Commercial Waste (Grease) Haulers
Map of Service Regions
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) waste generated by the food service component of the hospitality industry creates a huge burden on waste water infrastructure and water treatment facilities throughout the state. If you are a food service or lodging provider, implementing pollution prevention in your operations can help you:
- Reduce the environmental impacts of your operations, thereby reducing your regulatory requirements and paperwork headaches.
- Save money: waste is created out of inefficiency, and inefficiency is expensive.
- Create a "green" image and a competitive edge.
To address this issue, P²AD has prepared a series of fact sheets and a poster for food service establishments. These materials are available below. To order print copies, call (404) 651-5120.
Best Management Practices for Fats, Oils and Grease (PDF, 105KB)
Food Service Waste Reduction (PDF, 121KB)
Restaurant Oil and Grease Rendering (PDF, 120KB)
Oil & Grease Definitions (PDF, 59KB)
Managing Food Materials (PDF, 121KB)
Grease Trap 101 (PDF, 184KB)
Grease Goblin Poster (English) (PDF, 73KB)
Grease Goblin Poster (Spanish) (PDF, 72KB)
Grease Goblin Poster (Chinese) (PDF, 158KB)
Grease Goblin Poster (Korean) (PDF, 142KB)