Water conservation is a critical part of any environmentally responsive
hotel, with every effort taken to reduce total water utilization in each
of the three primary water-using areas: the hotel proper, which includes
the guestrooms and public and "back-of-the-house" areas; the
food-service facilities; and the laundry installation. To that end, low-flow
fixtures and fittings are used throughout the building.
Internal water-conservation programs, through which guests can elect
not to have bed linen and bath towels changed every day, are standard
in environmentally responsive hotels. In addition to conserving water,
these programs reduce the use of cleaning chemicals, as well as the fuel
needed to produce hot water for laundering. Because these programs are
voluntary, participation varies significantly by property, depending on
the hotel's type, its location, and, most importantly, the effectiveness
of its efforts to convey the importance of conservation and the manner
of participation. On the low end, 5-percent participation has been reported
at some properties, with participation in more successful programs exceeding
Domestic Hot Water
Domestic hot water (DHW) – for showers, sinks, dishwashers and clothes
washers – is supplied either by boilers within your HVAC system
or by separate water heaters. Consider the following measures:
Pick the right system for your facility.
A unit that is too small may leave you and your guests without hot
water, and too large a unit will consume more energy than necessary.
In some facilities, water must be heated to high temperatures for
laundry (71°C or 160°F) and then cooled to temperatures appropriate
for guest-room faucets (49°C or 120°F). When purchasing new equipment,
consider smaller, separate units for these functions. You may also
be able to eventually switch to a smaller system if you follow other
water-saving actions listed in the Energy Tips section.
Water heater timers ensure the heaters
operate only during the opening hours. Insulating jackets for water heaters are also
an inexpensive investment with short paybacks.
Low-flow aerators or showerheads often
cut water flow in half. As a result, hot-water demand is similarly
reduced, and payback is less than one year.
Low-flow and/or low-temperature commercial dishwashers
save 35 to 60 percent on water and water-heating energy. Front-loading
washing machines use about 40 percent less water – and less
water-heating energy – and deliver incremental paybacks in approximately
five years, compared with purchasing less-efficient replacement washers.
Ozone laundry uses electrically generated
ozone gas to clean the laundry. This method reduces water and energy
use by at least 30 percent, disinfects thoroughly, extends fabric
life, reduces chemical use and contributes to a more comfortable work
environment for laundry staff.
Domestic cold water is also an important consideration in the hospitality
industry, since energy is often required to pump water for toilets/urinals,
fountains, faucets, landscaping, water-cooled air conditioners, cooling
towers and humidification. Many drinking-water purification processes
also consume energy.
- Low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, urinal sensors and other water
management measures can reduce cold-water usage by over 20 percent.
Talk to a water management consultant or your water utility for more
The use of grey water is another significant water saver. For hotels,
depending on the details of the grey-water installation, total fresh-water
consumption can be cut almost in half, with associated reductions in both
water and sewer charges. Grey water uses either mechanical-treatment units
or, if the building is in an appropriate location, natural-treatment facilities,
such as "constructed wetlands" or "living-machine"
technology. The earliest successful hotel grey-water systems have been
in continuous operation for almost 35 years, and their value has been
proven economically and practically. In addition to its use for the flushing
of water closets and urinals, grey water also is widely utilized for irrigation
and washdown. Another primary use of grey water is cooling-tower makeup.
Grey water is directly usable in cooling towers, provided that attention
is paid to the proper use and rotation of biocides to control algal slime
Where a hotel requires extensive irrigation, water conservation also
can be achieved by collecting and storing roof storm water.
Water quality is another environmental consideration. Recent history
has indicated that the overall quality and safety of the nation's water
supplies is increasingly being compromised and cannot be assured. That
means that designs must both provide levels of treatment beyond the minimal
levels currently embraced and fully assess potential threats. Water quality
also has an impact on the proper operation of water-conserving fittings
such as shower heads, in which scaling from hard water can reduce flow.