The ultimate property
owner’s guide to water
Learn actionable tips for smarter water management and conservation.
There’s no denying it: property businesses consume a lot of water. Between bathrooms, laundry, room cleaning, dishwashing, swimming pools, and landscaping, there are plenty of areas where property owners can reduce water consumption—especially in hotels and residential buildings.
While there are some differences between different countries and continents, one thing is clear: property managers everywhere must learn how to control water consumption before the costs get out of hand.
The benefits of smarter water consumption are twofold: sound water management reduces the burden on not only your corporate bank account but also the environment. Now, let’s dig deeper into these two opportunities.
Reducing operational costs
Considering the rapidly increasing competition in the hospitality industry, property owners are under constant pressure to cut operational costs and increase the profitability of the business. And since water prices keep rising steadily, what better place to start than water management?
Smart water management schemes help you save on the water bill by drawing your attention to the areas that require attention the most. From plumbing leaks to wasteful washing machines, poor water management can literally drain your resources.
Taking a stance for the environment
In addition to operational savings, water conservation can help save lives. In fact, according to WWF, up to two-thirds of the world world’s population may suffer from water shortages by 2025. With that grim statistic in mind, now is a perfect time to start investing in sustainable solutions that avoid draining natural resources and increase the livelihood of people living in drought areas.
Take the tourism industry, for example: For years now, tourists have been flocking to eco-friendly destinations and green hotels that offer conscious travelers peace of mind in addition to all the traditional amenities. Thus, environmentally sound hotel management practices are also good for business, since they allow you to increase transparency and thus attract the growing market of conscious travelers to your hotels.
Everything you need to know about
property water management
After reading this guide, you can start executing on your vision towards more
eco- and wallet-friendly water management. Scroll the page or use the
following links to jump directly to the area that interests you the most.
- Up to 10% of hotels’
utility budgets are spent
- According to industry
practices can decrease
water use by 20–25%.
- Guest rooms account
for more than one-
third of hotels’ water
- Hot water is twice
as expensive as cold water, and
it accounts for 60% of the
water used in guest rooms.
- In European hotels, laundry
accounts for 5–17% of
total water usage.
1. Analyze current consumption
Before you start thinking about all the ways you could conserve water in your properties, it’s good to analyze current water consumption patterns to grasp what your water bill has swallowed. And once you have a clear idea of the current state, it’s time to set your gaze on the future.
2. Set measurable goals
Now that you understand the volume of consumption, you’re ready to set some measurable goals. For instance, you could commit to reducing total water consumption by 20% by the end of the year, or split your goals across different areas like laundry, bathrooms, and plumbing.
3. Share the responsibility
If the goal you’ve just set stays between you and just a few close colleagues, we can almost guarantee that you’ll never reach it. Instead, it’s a good idea to announce the objective to the whole team, and empower them to fight the battle with you. With more eyes on the ground, your goals are much more likely to become a reality.
4. Measure and optimize
Property water management is a marathon, not a sprint. By continuously measuring and optimizing your progress, you’ll be able to tweak your goals on the go, and achieve greater savings than you ever thought possible.
5. Act fast
Make sure that your staff knows what to do in case of a sudden leak. By training them to catch and fix leaks fast, you’ll save tens if not hundreds of thousands every year.
With these aces up your sleeve, you should be able to radically
reduce your property’s water bill in no time.
Install a leak detector
Most property owners are intimately familiar with the costs of fixing a plumbing leak that has caused structural or property damage. However, traditional leak detectors that cut water supply at the first sign of a possible leak are really not an option, since running water is critical to your business. Instead, you can invest in smart leak detectors like Smartvatten that automatically monitor water consumption around the clock, and alert your maintenance staff as soon as they detect an alarming deviation. Besides, with your water meters under 24/7 surveillance, the maintenance crew can skip manual meter readings and spend more time on other tasks.
Upgrade old fixtures and machines
Did you know that an old toilet unit can use up to 24 litres of water on every flush, which is four times as much as a newer, low flow model would use? Similarly, washing machines and kitchen appliances with poor water consumption ratings can prove to be expensive investments, since their lower purchase prices are typically offset by high water bills. Therefore, when the time comes to replace your old fixtures and machines, pay special attention to energy efficiency and water consumption ratings.
If you’re not ready to change all the fixtures just yet, don’t worry. As a temporary solution to reduce the water used for flushing toilets, place a full water bottle in the cistern of each unit. The bottle will replace some of the water in the tank, effectively reducing the amount of water available for flushing.
Additionally, remember that you can use water from opened water bottles for irrigation.
Control the flow of taps and showers
To make sure that the showers and taps in your property’s bathrooms aren’t flushing money down the drain, it’s good to adjust their flow. Make sure that showers aren’t using more than 10 litres of water per minute by placing a bucket underneath a shower and using the stopwatch on your phone to notify you when the minute is over. Similarly, tap flow should be restricted to max. 6 litres per minute in the bathrooms, and max. 10 liters per minute in the kitchen.
Get the guests and residents onboard
If you own a hotel chain, encourage guests to support your water conservation goals by initiating a simple towel and linen program that promotes growing the interval between textile washes. Also make sure that the housekeeping staff get sufficient training and support for adhering to the specific rules of the program.
Be smart about groundskeeping
Swimming pools are notorious for increasing properties’ water consumption. If you have installed one or more, make sure that you are paying extra attention to their upkeep and maintenance.
Especially during the summer months, it’s good to pay special attention to water use in landscaping. Make sure to water grounds at night, and if you’re using automated watering systems, make sure that you have moisture sensors to avoid over-watering.
Cloud-based services like Smartvatten are great for tracking water consumption, as they allow you to monitor consumption around the clock, 365 days a year.
Leak detection systems
Smartvatten’s remote monitoring service will notify your maintenance staff as soon as it detects a possible plumbing leak.
Low flow toilets
Low flow toilet units can save you thousand of litres – and thousands of euros – every years.
Flow restrictors and tap aerators
Flow restrictors and tap aerators are great for limiting the flow of tap water to avoid excess consumption.
Eco-friendly laundry systems
New technologies like ozone and cold water laundry systems help clean textiles more efficiently and with fewer chemicals than traditional laundry systems.
Smartvatten’s remote monitoring service tracks water consumption more
accurately than manual readings. With 24/7 consumption monitoring and
automated alerts, your team will be notified of leaks as soon as they
happen, saving you tens of thousands of euros every year.
For more information, check out these resources:
- Is Smartvatten the Right Water Management Solution for my Hotel Business?
- Smartvatten: Remote monitoring
- International Tourism Partnership: Water Stewardship
- Green Hotelier: Water Management and Responsibility in Hotels
- Biosphere Tourism: 7 Tips for Saving Water in Hotels
- EPA: Saving Water in Hotels