The steady drumbeat of articles in the media about the impending scarcity and the rising cost of water in the United States (particularly in California) is catching the attention of the commercial real estate community. Indeed, the rise in water and sewer rates has far exceeded the rise in cost of other utilities over the last 25 years in the United States. In the West, the severe drought is driving the meteoric rise in prices. The aging infrastructure and environmental problems in the East result from surface runoff and combined sewer overflow in the older cities.
Healthy Buildings’ WET Program (Water Efficient Technologies) helps identify and develop appropriate solutions that commercial building owners and managers can implement to reduce their water usage, without compromising the quality of the work environments they provide to tenants and employees. The WET Program focuses on four main water conservation service lines:
1. Bathroom Fixture Replacement
Healthy Buildings constantly surveys the latest in ultra-low-flow, highly water-efficient plumbing fixtures that have been independently tested and certified to meet efficiency and performance standards. Healthy Buildings in-house engineering ensures turnkey restroom plumbing retrofits are cost effective and successful.
2. Bathroom Fixture Optimization for Improved Efficiency
For those who have neither the budget nor the wherewithal to replace fixtures, Healthy Buildings specializes in “tuning” or “optimizing” a bathroom fixture flushometer assembly so that it utilizes a reduced flow rate while successfully removing waste. In a good candidate building, it’s not unusual for Healthy Buildings to reduce sanitary water usage by 20%-50% and achieve approximately a 2-year payback or less.
3. Water Re-use
Water reuse is a term describing the reclamation and recycling of wastewater from building activities such as air conditioning condensate, process water effluent, equipment cooling, etc. Healthy Buildings identifies, designs and installs water reuse systems on behalf of its commercial building clients.
4. Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Rainwater harvesting is a technology used for collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops, and subsequently using it for building needs such as irrigation, cooling tower makeup, and toilet flushing. Commonly used systems are constructed of three principal components: the catchment area, the collection device, and the conveyance system. Healthy Buildings possesses the expertise to qualify, design, and install rainwater harvesting systems, as well as perform cistern water quality testing as part of an ongoing maintenance program.