Reducing water wastage in the built environment

5th September 2018

We’ve just come to the end of this year’s World Water Week (26th – 31st August), a unique event which provides a platform for positive discussion about water-related challenges and their impact on environmental, health, climate and economic agendas.

The topic of reducing water usage received considerable attention this year, following severe drought in the US, Australia and southern Europe.  Here in the UK, the heatwave that lasted through June, July and August brought unusually hot and dry weather conditions, with record-breaking temperatures in some areas, widespread drought and hosepipe bans.  When you add to this that the UK has less available water per person than many other EU countries, it really highlights the importance of reducing water usage.

On a domestic level, we all need to do our bit to make the most efficient use of our water supplies; taking showers instead of baths, using water saving devices (some of which are available from local councils), and limiting car, bike and equipment washing.

Commercial water wastage

On a larger scale, the built environment is a major consumer of water resources.  Large volumes of water are needed for manufacturing, construction, though the life-cycle of the building and finally for the demolition process.

Around half of the water used during a building’s construction phase can be attributed to pre-commissioning cleaning, the necessary process required to ensure a water system is clean and contaminant free at the point of handover.

The water treatment industry’s approach to this has followed a similar pattern for many years, focusing on flushing the system with high-volumes of water and leaving a lot to be desired in terms of sustainability.  By directly improving the efficiency of this process, large volumes of water can be saved.

Sustainable alternatives

Innovations in pre-commissioning cleaning allow for a vast reduction in water volume, while still complying with the BSRIA guidelines.  We use Hydrosphere® Conditioning Units (HCUs) as part of our pre-commissioning procedure, a solution which significantly reduces the volume of water required to flush and drain the system, cutting water wastage and improving sustainability.  This process is also faster than traditional flushing, saving time and money on the job.

Other alternatives include in-line filtration, which dramatically reduces water consumption by retaining the existing water in the system. As well as saving many thousands of litres of new water, this process preserves the chemical balance of the system, reducing both chemical usage and costs.

Reducing water wastage does not end at handover.  Continuous monitoring systems, such as Hevasure, give a real-time understanding of the condition of the system at all stages of its life, ensuring treatment and maintenance are necessary and pre-emptive; avoiding the overuse of chemicals and flushing.

If every building adopted these methods, huge volumes of water would be saved across the board.

Contact our team of experts today to discuss how we can cut water wastage in your building.