Why Water-Saving Matters
Cutting back on your restaurant’s water use not only drives down the water bill but lowers electric, gas and waste disposal bills too. This is a great way to conserve water and energy and add to your conservation effforts.
Experts predict that by 2013, more than 70 percent of the U.S. states will experience some type of local, regional or state-wide water shortage. By 2025, 4 billion people -- about half the world’s population -- will live in 'severe water stress' conditions.
Low-Cost Water Savers
No matter your restaurant’s size, these simple, low-cost steps will save water and help cut costs.
- Encourage employees to conserve -- Train your employees to use water conservatively. Point out the importance of water-saving and how each employee can make a difference. Post water-saving measures and results. Consider a program to reward water-saving efforts.
- Cut back on water served to guests -- Rather than automatically serving water to your guests, wait for them to request a glass.
- Reduce sink and tap use -- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator and melt ice naturally instead of running water over them in the sink. Wash vegetables in a water basin and not under running water. Soak pots and pans and scrape dishes and cookware before washing them.
- Test and repair leaks -- A faucet leaking just a tenth of a gallon of water a minute wastes 50,000 gallons or more of water a year, says the Environmental Protection Agency. Leaky toilets are problems too. Check for leaks by placing a small amount of food coloring in the tank. If you see the coloring in the toilet bowl 20 or 30 minutes later, you have a leak.
- Keep water temperature at the right level -- Use a thermometer to make sure you’re not heating water hotter than needed. Water in a dishwashing machine should be at a temperature determined by the manufacturer. Water for hand washing should be at 110 degrees under most health and safety codes.
- Install low-flow spray valves -- Low-flow spray valves can save a restaurant up to $1,000 a year, according to the Food Service Technology Center. These valves are so efficient that some states require low-flow pre-rinse spray valves for new purchases. Check with your local utility or water district for rebates or repayment programs.
- Use the dishwasher wisely -- Fully load your dishwasher’s racks. Check the temperature pressure. If above 25 psi, you could be using more water than needed. Turn off dishwashers when not in use to save energy.
- Be efficient with laundry -- Use the appropriate wash cycle and size. Wash only full loads as much as possible.
- Conserve outside too -- Sweep or blow sidewalks and parking lots clean rather than hose them off with water. Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation system to water plants and lawns. Set irrigation systems on timers. Plant native shrubs and flowers that require less care and water.
Invest in Water savers
Investing in and upgrading to energy-efficient equipment are ways you can cut water costs over the long run. Following are just a few water-saving ideas to consider.
- Add aerators -- Water-efficient aerators in kitchen and restroom sinks can save as much as a gallon of water per minute.
- Make toilets more efficient -- Install ultra low-flow toilets and waterless urinals. If you can’t replace existing toilets, adjust the flush valves or install dams.
- Design a new dishwashing system -- Many newer dishwashing systems use as little as a gallon of water or less per rack of dishes washed. Some have gas booster heaters to save energy. Some use a chemical rinse instead of a hot water rinse. Although more expensive initially, energy efficient dishwashing systems will reduce energy bills over time.
- Install on-demand water heaters -- These cost-effective water heaters heat water only when needed.
- Purchase or set up an efficient laundry system -- A rinse-water recycling system or high-efficiency washers and dryers conserve both water and energy.
- Replace steam cookers -- Connectionless steamers use considerably less water than boiler-based steamers. EPA tests show that certain energy-efficient steam cookers are as much as 90 percent more water efficient than traditional models.
How Much Can You Save?
Investing in energy-efficient, water-saving equipment brings rewards. You help the environment and cut your operational costs at the same time. The following links give you even more information about cutting costs and saving water.
Rebates & incentives
Tax deductions & incentives
Products & product guides
Test your knowledge
Have a Success Story?
Do you have a water saving story to tell? We want to hear it! Please share your success stories with us.
Water Energy Resources
Interested in more ways to save energy and how those savings can make a dent in your everyday business expenses? Check out the advantages of ENERGY STAR for Small Business program or review these Web sites for additional energy saving tips and programs.
University of Kassel Center for Environmental Systems Research
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ENERGY STAR -- EPA, Department of Energy
Southwest Florida Water Management District
Arizona Department of Revenue
City of Pendleton, Oregon
Wake County North Carolina Department of Environmental Services Food Safety Program
Florida Department of Health
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Food Service Technology Center
Maryland Department of the Environment
City of Boulder, Colorado
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Water Resources Authority of Massachusetts