The True Cost of Water and Wastewater

Aug. 24, 2017

Water consumption varies greatly by building type and other variables you may not have thought of. 

Over the last two decades, water costs and wastewater fees have steadily risen – in fact, at roughly double the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Do you know how much your facility uses? Have you benchmarked its consumption against other buildings? ENERGY STAR’s free online benchmarking tool, Portfolio Manager, tracks water as well as energy.

Annualized Rate Increases from 2004-2014

1. Wastewater fees have been  increasing at a somewhat faster rate than water costs. If your facility is charged separately for sewer/wastewater but you are not metering that outflow, you are missing out on the cost savings for the water used onsite.  

Source: American Water Works, Raftelis

Water Use by Building Type

2. As one would expect, buildings open around the clock are among the most intensive users of water. Inpatient healthcare buildings average nearly 50 gallons per square foot per year. Public order buildings (which include prisons) and lodging facilities average 42 gallons per square foot.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Water Use by Year of Construction

3. With the exception of inpatient health care buildings, the year of construction has little impact on the average annual amount of water used. Inpatient healthcare buildings constructed before 1960 use an average 55 gallons per square foot; those constructed in 2000 or later average 45 gallons.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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