Water Conservation for Businesses
Restaurants and other businesses have the opportunity to be leading role models in sustainability. Restaurants in particular have a huge potential to reduce their monthly water and energy bills simply by changing a few common practices and upgrading to water efficient appliances. Over time, these water use reductions can have great impacts on local waterways and global demand. Keep reading to learn why it is so important that restaurants start conserving water and how they can achieve big savings.
Commercial Kitchen Water Use Efficiency and Best Practices Guide
The Water Conservation Program has hard copies of the Commercial Kitchen Water Use Efficiency and Best Practices Guide put together by the Alliance for Water Efficiency which covers day-to-day best practices, case study summaries, and strategies for efficient management of the most common high-use equipment. This guide is a great way to find some water save projects!
Contact us if you are a Charlottesville business and would like a copy of this great guide.
Top Reasons to Save Water at your Business
- Lower Your Bills: Reducing water usage will not only lower your water bill, but also your energy bill. Heating water has a direct effect on your kitchen’s energy consumption. In fact, a typical kitchen can reduce water consumption by 10-25% with low-cost changes.
- Rising Water Cost: Water rates are expected to rise between 5-15% every year in the United States. This will have an impact on your business and profits.
- It’s a Good Investment: The money you save from your initial reductions in water and energy can fund investments in the more expensive, longer-term conservation upgrades (to save even more water, energy, and money)!
- Promote Sustainability in the Industry: Restaurants have huge potential for savings, which can have a significant impact on our country if all restaurant operators comply. For example, if 5,000 full-service restaurants in the United State reduced water consumption by 10%, the water they saved could supply over 29,000 Americans with water for an entire year, not to mention the $11,962,500 they would save collectively per year!
- Help Tackle this Global Issue at the Local Level: Reducing water demands locally reduces the environmental impacts resulting from water treatment and the sewer systems. A lot of energy goes into treating and transporting water, so reducing this impact will do great things for local watersheds and wildlife habitat.
Four Steps to Save Water at your Business
- Water Use Assessment: You can either contact a local water utility to perform a water audit at your business or conduct one yourself. The audit should include an inspection of all water uses, including refrigeration, sanitation equipment, cooking equipment, irrigation, restrooms, etc.
- Pay Attention: Check your water bill each month because a significant increase in the bill can be a great indication of a leak. Check your equipment each quarter to ensure no leaks in things like faucets, toilets, and hoses. If there is a leak, you can use a drip gauge to estimate the water wasted each day and each year. TIP: Get FREE leak detection dye tabs in the FREE Water Conservation Kit from City Hall.
- Change a Few Practices: These easy changes in routine are free, yet can lead to big savings over time! Try to think of other ways your staff can easily conserve water every day!
- Consider only offering water to customers on request to conserve drinking water. You could also offer a water pitcher with reusable cups.
- Another easy habit to change is thawing frozen products under running water. Instead, plan ahead and thaw in a fridge.
- Try to use your in-sink food disposers less, as they are very water intensive. Instead, try using a strainer to catch food products and dispose of them in compost or trash bins. TIP: Learn about composting options in Charlottesville.
- Upgrade Appliances: Installing updated appliances and other equipment can save you thousands of gallons each year, which will lead to significant drops in your monthly water bill.
- Low-flow Aerators: Installing 0.5 gpm (gallons per minute) aerators on faucets instead of the typical 2.2 aerators can save 12,300 gallons and $140 annually per faucet. Plus, aerators are typically less than $10 or free from your water utility! TIP: Get FREE aerators in the FREE Water Conservation Kit from City Hall.
- Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valve: Replacing a 2.25 gpm nozzle with an efficient 1.2 gpm nozzle can save around 28,000 gallons and $550 per year in water and energy utilities.
- Energy Star® Dish Machine: Modern ENERGY STAR® dish machines use about half as much water as an inefficient traditional machine. Depending on how often the machine is used per day, this upgrade could save close to $930 annually.
- Energy Star® Ice Machine: The more water-efficient machines are only air-cooled, rather than water-cooled. The air-cooled machines can save 326,700 gallons and $3,700 in operating cost per year! This means that the machine would pay for itself in less than two years!
- Energy Star® Combination Oven: Believe it or not, this is one of the most water intensive appliances in your kitchen! Replacing your standard oven with an Energy Star® qualified oven can save $600 in water bills annually, along with thousands in energy costs!
- WaterSense® Toilets: Older toilets can use 4.5 gallons per flush, which costs about 3.5 cents more per flush than the efficient WaterSense® toilets at 1.28 gallons per flush. Because restaurant bathrooms are flushed so often, this upgrade can lead to $1,250 savings each year! TIP: Take advantage of the City of Charlottesville’s toilet rebate program.
Source: Commercial Kitchens Water Use Efficiency and Best Practices Guide by Alliance for Water Efficiency, 2017
Carwash Certification Program
- Description of the Carwash Certification Program (PDF)
- Qualifications of the Carwash Certification Program (PDF)
Contact us if you have questions about our Carwash Certification Program.