Water Conservation

Why is water conservation important? Because water is not as abundant a resource as we think it is and because water conservation also translates into energy conservation. Hotels can use $200,000 or more in water and trade waste charges a year. These charges do not include electricity for heating the water or cooling tower chemicals. Water efficiency audits in the hotel industry have shown it is possible to achieve average water savings of around 20% without compromising guest comfort levels. Of all the water present on the planet, a shockingly small amount (less than 3%) is available for human consumption.

Here are some basic water conservation tips for your average hotel (of course, always check with your local authorities to see if suggested tips are allowed in your area):

Area Water-Saving Tips
Guest rooms
  • Install water efficient shower heads.
  • Install sink aerators.
  • Install low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters.
  • Install variable-buoyancy flappers.
  • Maintain optimal system pressure.
  • Replace sticking toilet handles.
  • Install waterless operated urinals
  • Install timed shutoff valves in the faucets
  • Install water efficient taps, flow regulators, trigger hoses.
  • Reuse gray water.
  • Purchase Energy Star Dishwashers
  • Don’t use running water to melt ice or frozen foods.
  • Use water-conserving icemakers throughout the facility.
  • Reuse rinse water (check your local regulations)
  • Recycle cooling water.
  • Encourage guests to reuse linen.
  • Use water efficient washing machines
  • Replace all washing and drying appliances with Energy Star products
Mechanical Systems
  • Increase cycles of concentration.
  • Use a blow down meter in the cooling tower.
  • Regularly maintain and service the cooling tower.
  • Increase indoor air conditioning temperature set-point to 25 degrees in summer and 20 degrees in winter.
  • Set up a preventative maintenance plan.
  • Check and repair leaks on a regular basis.
  • Use automatic shut-off nozzles.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water to wash vehicles rather than use hotel water and labor.
  • Maximize mulch.
  • Plant native plants.
  • Install a rainwater tank.
  • Join EPA’s WaterWise Program
  • Apply fertilizer appropriately.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Select plants that require less water.
  • Replace mowed landscaping with ground cover.
  • Water efficiently.
  • Use the most efficient irrigation methods.
  • Check irrigation systems for leaks.
  • Water at the best times when evaporation is minimal during summer.
  • Check local regulation for watering times.
  • Check and evaluate soil
Swimming Pools
  • Install a rainwater tank for pool make up.
  • Optimize and recycle backwash.
  • Use temperature regulation.
  • Use a swimming pool and hot tub covers
  • Install a solar water-heating system when possible.
  • Use a water-saving swimming pool filter.
  • Clean filters by dismantling and cleaning rather than backwashing.
  • Lower pool water level to reduce loss of water through splashing.
  • Reduce storm water runoff.
  • Use reclaimed water.
  • Start a linen (both towels and sheets) reuse program in all guest rooms.
  • Check for leaks in the toilets.


Additional Resources
WaterSense – EPA Voluntary Program
This voluntary program is offered to manufacturers, retailers, distributors, nonprofits, trade associations, utilities and landscape irrigation professionals to bring water-efficient products to market. Website also offers water-saving resources.

Waterwiser – American Water Works Association
This website is a comprehensive clearinghouse of resources on water conservation, efficiency, and demand management for conservation professionals and the larger water supply community.

American Water and Energy Savers – List of General Tips
This resource provides 21 different and effective tips on how to save water. These tips can be applied to any hotel of any size.

Water Conservation Tips: A 10-Step Approach for Your Business
This resource was developed by the Long Beach Water Department to stress the importance of using water wisely. These general tips can be used by any hotel facilities manager to implement basic water conservation practices at a hotel.

Hotel Water Conservation – A Seattle Demonstration
This resource provides a good case study of how and engineering approach and an behavioral/educational approach can be combined to achieve an effective water conservation program. Lots of water conservation data is included in this study.