Excessive Water Consumption Puts American Businesses At Risk

Waste is the mortal enemy of a successful business. Lost of “pro-business” politicians like to yammer on about how regulations meant to conserve natural resources is bad for the economy, but smart business owners know that using resources wisely is a short-cut to bigger profits.

Take water, for instance. A yearlong partnership between AT&T and the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) found that simple improvements in large-scale commercial cooling systems could save 28 billion gallons of water a year if they were adopted nationwide. That amount of water could allow everyone in New York to take daily showers for 340 days! If implemented, these upgrades would result in 40 percent savings on commercial water bills, and reduce operating risk.

water consumption risk

Image via AT&T and EDF

Shocked by the sheer magnitude of water wasted by traditional cooling systems, and by how much money could be saved by more efficient technologies, AT&T and EDF created a free toolkit with resources to help organizational leaders and facility managers jump start water reductions.

The result of data and lessons gleaned from pilot projects that ran across the U.S. during the summer and fall of 2012, the Building Water Efficiency toolkit includes both technical and management tools to design, implement and document water conservation programs.

“Thirty-one of our top water consuming facilities are in water stressed regions,” explained John Schinter, AT&T Executive Director of Energy. “We couldn’t wait until a drought put a strain on our operations; we needed to manage risk from water scarcity and increasing water costs today. EDF helped us find ways to do so that were good for the communities where we operate and that were financially sound.”

Cooling tower water use accounts for approximately 30 percent of AT&T’s 3.3 billion gallons of annual water use. “Through free air cooling and optimized cooling towers, AT&T aims to reduce its approximately 1 billion gallon annual cooling tower water use by 150 million gallons per year by 2015,” states a press release.

Wondering how much money your company wastes through inefficient cooling systems? Check out the infographic below.

cooling our consumption infographic

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog