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WaterSense at Work Makes It Your Business to Be Water-Efficient

From your office or school to your favorite hotel chain or restaurant, ever wonder how the facilities you visit most use water? Or do you want to make your workplace more sustainable?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities an online guide to help facility owners and managers better control their water use through efficient products and practices.

Commercial and institutional facilities use 17 percent of the water provided by the nation's public water supplies, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Schools, offices, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, laboratories, and other facilities can significantly reduce their water use, energy requirements, and operating costs by understanding their water use patterns and incorporating the best management practices in WaterSense at Work.

To demonstrate how this information translates into actual water, energy, and cost savings, the guide also features seven case studies about facilities demonstrating water savings in the commercial and institutional arena, some of which will be featured in upcoming issues of the WaterSense Current. First up, Holiday Inn reveals how a hotel can offer green accommodations for environmentally conscious travelers and reduce its utility costs.

In 2007, the Holiday Inn San Antonio International Airport achieved Texas-sized water savings when it replaced its circa-1981 bathroom toilets, faucets, and showerheads in the facility's 397 guest rooms. The hotel got a boost from the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) WaterSaver Hotel Program which helps area hotels retrofit bathroom fixtures by funding the products and their installation. Water use per occupied room at the Holiday Inn dropped 35 percent following the retrofit, saving the hotel a total of 7 million gallons of water per year and about $68,000 in annual water, sewer, and energy costs!

WaterSense is working on more ways for hotels and restaurants to achieve a green edge by using less water. EPA plans to release a draft specification to label pre-rinse spray valves in January 2013, providing an opportunity for commercial kitchens to reduce the water used by these fixtures, which help get cafeteria and restaurant dishes ready for the dishwasher.

To learn how your workplace can implement its own water management plan to build a sense of community beyond the water cooler, explore WaterSense at Work's best management practices. For more information about water-efficient pre-rinse spray valves, visit the Pre-Rinse Spray Valves page.

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