Water ScoreCard – A Data Tool for Businesses

When it comes to accessing the effectiveness of a water management strategies the Water ScoreCard – Tools for Businesses can be a useful tool for businesses.

The Water ScoreCard was initially created as a tool to help governments ensure better water quality, but many businesses are successfully using it to ensure their water management program is optimal. It is useful for any business that implements a water management program for sustainability and operates several different facilities.  The scorecard is a hosted program into which data about water usage is compiled and a company score is assigned based on the given information.  The Water ScoreCard can be used to:Water Score Card Guide

•  Create a snapshot of overall water usage across various facilities.

• Highlight facilities where water usage efficiency has been improved

• Easily locate facilities where improved efficiency in water management is needed.

• Compile data about water usage in cooling towers

• Quickly spread principles of water practices through staff

A guide to the Water ScoreCard was created in a joint venture between AT&T and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in order to help companies better understand how to create, understand, and manage the program.  The Water ScoreCard system has served to not only lighten the ecological footprint of business, but has allowed several companies to enjoy cost savings from reduced water usage.

The toolkit also contains easy-to-understand visuals about the importance of water and best practices in water efficiency at facilities.

To learn more about water reduction strategies and tools like the Water ScoreCard, please contact us at eco-officiency.

Boxed water packaging – is it a better solution than plastic?

Here’s a statistic that you can’t water down: About 67 million plastic water bottles get tossed out each day, and, according to a piece by Dr. Joseph Mercola, “only 10 percent of these water bottles are ever recycled.”  The remaining 90 percent end up in landfills, and plastic takes thousands of years to decompose.

According to Dr. Mercola, drinking boxed waterwater from a plastic container “poses serious risks to you and your family.” Choosing plastic exposes you to chemicals like BPA and phthalates that have been linked to, among other things, to a wide range of developmental and reproductive problems.

What resources go into producing all that waste? According to treehugger.com, about “1.5 million barrels of oil – enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year – are used to make plastic water bottles.” That does not include the fuel burnt in transporting the empty bottles to the water source and the filled bottles to the consumers.

One Grand Rapids, Mich., company, with the eponymous title, “Boxed Water Is Better LLC,” manufactures and sells boxed water containers.  Their claim is that their container is far more eco-friendly: “About 76% of the box is from a renewable resource, trees.”

They harvest their raw material from “certified, well-managed forests,” and their boxes are recyclable. The Carton Council, a group of carton manufactures, whose goal is to keep valuable carton empties from ending up in landfills, would welcome wider use of boxed water, because over 74 percent of most cartons are made from recyclable paperboard. Given these facts, boxed water is a more environmental friendly packaging material than plastic bottles.

Water Saving Tips for Colorado Residents

hand turning a tap on, isolatedAlthough Colorado received some incredible snowfall in April 2013, our water table is still low and drought conditions still exist.

According to the United States Drought Monitor approximately 90% of the state of Colorado is still identified “severe to extreme drought” conditions. It is important to be water conscious while Colorado still is in drought conditions.

As the season of hotter, drier weather approaches Colorado residents can begin participating in several water conservation efforts that will assist in preparation for the summer when the drought will likely be at its peak. Colorado residents can:

  • Water lawns between 7pm-5am and limit sprinkler use to only 1-2 times per week. Colorado residents should be aware that many counties will have mandatory restrictions. Denver Water has posted their drought watering times and restrictions.
  • Keep your grass longer by raising lawn mower blades and mow less frequently.
  • Consider xeriscaping your lawn or garden.
  • Repair leaky faucets and toilets. According to National Geographic ten gallons a day is lost through leaky faucets.
  • Consider converting to low-flow and WaterSense certified toilets, faucets and washers. Denver Water is currently offering rebates on both.
  • Take 5 minutes or less showers which can save about 12.5 gallons of water.
  • Be mindful of not letting your faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Considering installing a foot pedal from Foot Faucet to reduce running water while using the kitchen sink.

For continuing updates on the drought, information on the current water restrictions and additional conservations tips please visit the Denver Water website.

Water Conservation is Important in the Workplace

When considering eco topics in relation to the workplace, energy efficiency usually comes to mind before water conservation.  However, experts agree water conservation is equally if not more important.  Here is startling statistic on water:

“Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water or about 0.007% of the entire world’s water supply is available for human use (that’s approximately one teaspoon of water out of a full bath tub).”

It is crucial that industries and public institutions get serious on water conservation.  Water is used in schools, commercial buildings, recreational facilities, and many other workplaces in watering gardens, in the manufacturing process, in the cleaning of floors and equipment, in the cooling of buildings, and of course, in toilets and wash rooms. Of all the water used in major cities, those industries and institutions account for 25% of the use.  So if businesses banded together, there could be a significant difference made in water quality and conservation.

Here are some ideas for small and medium sized businesses could start conserving water:

  • Turn of unnecessary flows to equipment and machinery
  • Switch to low-flow automatic faucets within the facility
  • Install low-flow toilets in each restroom
  • Limit or reduce the watering of lawns or consider xeriscaping
  • Use non-potable water to water flowers and plants
  • Use non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners and solvents
  • Offer filtered water to employees and costumers instead of purchasing bottled water
  • Make your staff aware and involved in the conservation efforts, perhaps by offering water conservation training

None of these things may seem like they would have a big effect on the conservation effort.  But if enforced and sustained, these changes, over time will make a difference. If you would like more ideas on saving water or have any questions about water conservation, please feel free to contact us.

Watering Tips for Drought States

It appears some U.S. states might be headed for drought conditions. It will be important for individuals to be more conscious of the water they use and conserve. If you have an automatic sprinkler system reset the timer to be shorter water cycles and on alternating days. Here is other outside water saving tips;

Watering only two days a week, and using a day of rain to skip watering.

  • Only watering the areas of your yard that are dry. For example, if shady areas look fine, only water the dry areas that get the most sun exposure.
  • Watering early in the morning or in the evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Watering two-four minutes is all most lawns/ gardens really need per day.
  • Don’t water your lawn between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Don’t let your hose run, add a nozzle to conserve water

Other Resources:

How much water does a single Google search use?

Who knew that a simple Google search related to water usage? Well the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) examined the relationship between water and energy and showed just how much a Google search requires.

In their report, “Where Water Meets Watts”, they cite that a single Google search requires a half a milliliter of water in energy. With over 300 million searches worldwide that adds up to over 150,000 liters of water per day to produce enough electrical power.

The IEEE also developed an interactive map that shows the relationship between energy and water and how it relates to each communities supply. The map shows population access to clean water and electricity along with the prognosis provided by IEEE. It hopes the map will encourage global awareness of the situation of water and energy use.

To calculate and learn more about your water consumption habits visit Water Footprint.

The Story of Bottled Water

Annie Leonard, the producer of the Story of Stuff, just launched a new video called The Story of Bottled Water . This short video focuses on the bottled water industry marketing campaign to make us believe that tap water is ‘not healthy’ and also explains the environmental impact of bottled water. If you haven’t yet learned about the affects of the bottled water industry, this is an easy, short and enjoyable short video to watch.