How to make your business more water efficient

Advantages of water efficiency in business

Guide

Over the past 20 years demand for water has risen steadily. Using water, especially hot water, uses energy and causes emissions of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. You should use water more efficiently to help ensure everyone's needs continue to be met in the future.

Typical costs of water use in business

All businesses can benefit from using water efficiently. In manufacturing, water bills can cost over 1 per cent of turnover. Most businesses could halve their water bill by implementing simple and economical water minimisation measures.

You could be paying more for water and associated costs than you need to. The cost of using water isn't only what you pay to the water company for its supply. Other costs to your business may include:

  • disposal of your wastewater, either as a percentage of the amount of water you use or by the strength of your effluent
  • losses due to leaks and wasteful appliances
  • the energy you use to heat or cool water
  • wasting water, eg excessive washing down
  • pumping and storing
  • heating
  • capital depreciation of and maintaining equipment and infrastructure
  • materials or products lost in wastewater, for example metals lost by poor control at metal plating facilities
  • meter size charges

Using less water may mean that you can rely fully on the mains supply and not have to pay for a licence to abstract water from the environment. You should review which option is best for your business as you may not need to use high quality mains water for all your activities, for example cooling.

How much money could my business save through water efficiency?

You could save up to 30 per cent of your water costs through simple, low cost actions, eg fixing a leak from a single cold water tap could save you up to £900 per year.

There are also non-financial benefits of using water efficiently. Suppliers and customers are increasingly environmentally conscious, demanding that businesses use natural resources sustainably. By demonstrating your water efficiency you can attract and retain customers and employees. You can also create interest from investors, stakeholders and the media by showing that your business is well managed.

Practical water efficiency advice

You can download Invest NI's practical water efficiency guide for businesses (PDF, 957K).