Posted on 7/29/2014 7:04 AM by Scott Kale

While building owners and managers tend to look at the big picture to make their building more efficient and profitable, it’s really the small things that drain their budget. After performing hundreds of water audits, here are the top four culprits I find that make a building water inefficient.

Cooling Towers
Using 30% of your building’s total water consumption, cooling towers are usually located on rooftops and go practically unnoticed unless they completely fail.  They rely on water evaporation to regulate temperature, which increases the concentration of minerals in the remaining water.  If left undiluted, this will cause scaling on the equipment surfaces that can cause small leaks to occur.  These leaks can drain thousands of gallons and go completely undetected – until you get an enormous water bill!

Toilets
Toilets can also account for more than 30% of the water used inside a facility. A valve stuck open in one toilet can waste 200 gallons per hour. Over a weekend, this would cost $157 in Los Angeles, $220 in Tampa, and $360 in Atlanta.

Excess Irrigation
While owners and managers promise to offer tenants a lush landscape to go with the building, often times it means they over irrigate in both the number of days and how long per zone. If faulty rain sensors are in place, you may be watering during a rain storm. Train your grass and flowers to grow with less water.

Underground Leaks
Most equate underground leaks with the major bursts that are easily seen. However, the most expensive leaks are those that can’t be seen. Look for wet spots and alligatored paving, which are clues to underground leaks.

Water is one of most precious assets. Yet we often waste it without giving a second though. Correcting and monitoring the above culprits will go a long way toward increasing your water efficiency and lowering your bill.

You can also take advantage of technology that measures water usage in real-time. Analyzing this data provides metrics to determine when there is usage above industry norms, an unseen leak, or a catastrophic leak. Making sure these problems are identified and remedied can prevent you from wasting gallons of water.

Scott Kale is vice president of WaterSignal. He can be reached at skale@watersignal.com.