Water conservation is a critical stepping stone to conserving a declining natural resource, protecting local ecosystems, saving energy and lowering service costs. In the past decade alone, water utility costs have risen over 30% with many cities facing aging infrastructure and fewer resources.
“Sustainability is a core pillar of our work at SSC and is something we strongly encourage our team members to become well versed in,” said George Bernardon, SSC Services’ VP Grounds Management. “Water management plays a key role in helping our partners on the path to becoming more sustainable and we’re proud to be doing our part to implement changes that can save energy and reduce costs for them over time.
For schools and businesses looking to make an impact on their environmental footprint in light of World Water Day, here are five ways to improve operations and conserve water throughout facilities:
- Conduct an irrigation audit
- If you’re not sure where to start, consider conducting an audit to determine how much of your system is operational and to identify areas where water efficiencies can be implemented. Routine inspections help ensure systems are functioning properly and are not applying water to hard surfaces.
- Upgrade to Smart Controllers and Flow Sensors
- These systems use computerized water models that adjust daily to shift irrigation when there is rainfall or water runoff. Upgrading will provide users with alerts of leaks and malfunctions, allowing for timely fixes that can help cut down the amount of wasted water.
- Add sustainable landscape elements
- Consider creating a rain garden which can enhance curb appeal and is designed to catch rainwater and store it for later use when rainfall is not as frequent. In addition, designing landscapes with plants that don’t require as much upkeep can reduce water use and strengthen the surrounding terrain. Examples include adding native plants, making a wildflower grove, or creating a pollinator garden.
- Collect sump wastewater
- Many sites, buildings and structures interact with the water tables and require pumping to remove water that would otherwise damage nearby buildings or cause instability. If the water is safe, it can instead be harvested and used to irrigate the surrounding area rather than being added into the storm or sewer systems.
- Take inventory on indoor water usage
- While outdoor facility activities largely contribute to a water usage, it’s also important to be aware of indoor activities that do the same. Consider converting toilets to low-flow or dual-flush systems, install low-flow faucets where possible, regularly check for water leaks and make sure to be mindful of running water when washing hands, showering and even cooking.
To further optimize water use across properties, SSC also partners with leading smart technology provider Weathermatic. Through its SmartLink technology, Weathermatic is able to ensure systems are commissioned and maintained for peak performance and efficiency. This allows SSC team members to better control the amount of water they are using and manage systems in real-time. These innovations help locations reduce outdoor water consumption by up to 40%, with another 10-20% in water energy savings.
“SSC is a national leader in water management services, with a strong focus on a site’s sustainability and environmental goals,” said Brodie Bruner, Executive Vice President at Weathermatic. “By recognizing a large component of water usage stems from the outdoors, SSC is helping campuses reduce water usage, save energy and maintain the landscape’s natural beauty.”
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