With schools spending over £70 million a year on water, it comes as no surprise that educational establishments are becoming more aware of the financial and environmental impacts of their water use.
In this schools water saving guide, our experts share top tips on how schools and other educational facilities can work to decrease their water spend and limit their impact on the environment.
1. Rainwater storage
Installing rainwater storage systems can result in a significant financial savings as well as a return of investment of 2-3 years.
Rather than tapping into your mains water supply, you can use stored rainwater. With many uses including cooling systems and toilet flushing, rainwater provides a relatively steady flow of water in the UK.
2. Install water saving equipment
A school that is equipped with water efficiency devices can use up to 50% less water than a school not investing in efficiency. Despite concerns about initial financial investment, there are many cost-effective measures that can be taken:
- Cistern displacers limit the amount of water that can be held in your toilet cisterns and therefore minimise the amount of water used when flushing.
- Automated urinal controls sense when individual urinals are being used, so rather than the whole bank of urinals flushing after use, only the individual urinal will be flushed.
- Flow restrictors limit the amount of water coming out of your taps or showers. Restrictors are easily installed by screwing them onto taps.
- Self-closing or ‘push’ taps ensure taps are always turned off when not in use. A running tap can cause floods, not to mention waste a considerable amount of water.
3. Educate Staff and Pupils
Things such as leaving taps running can result in a heavy increase to the bottom line of your water bill. So basic reminders can provide a significant cost saving.
Particularly with pupils, you should celebrate success. When positive behavioural changes are made, reward them! That way water saving in the school is actively encouraged.
4. Regular maintenance of school equipment
Ensuring your school is operating with properly functioning equipment is key to ensuring water efficiency. Things like ensuring pipes are insulated to prevent leaks and bursts during colder months is vital.
Furthermore, by regularly checking your water metres and bills, you are more likely to spot anomalies such as high spike in usage or water being used when the school is closed which would suggest a leak.
Make sure your pipes are protected against cold weather as leakage can increase after a burst pipe due to frost.
5. Switch the school’s water supplier
The English water market deregulated in 2017, meaning that business customers are now able to switch water retailer. Not only could this provide cost savings, but the deregulated market provides the opportunity to switch to a retailer that provide better levels of service.
Before deciding on which retailer best suits your school, utilising the expertise of a Cost-Saving Consultant should be considered.
6. Employ ‘Greywater’ for flushing
Grey water is described as the ‘relatively clean wastewater from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances.’ Often, this water is discarded. However, with Greywater systems, more and more businesses and households are making use of the water they would have otherwise wasted.
Greywater can be stored and then used to flush toilets and urinals which generally make use of your clean water supply. By using grey water, you remove the need to tap into your mains supply and can therefore reduce your costs by up to 30% whilst being economical.
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