Hospitality Water Costs

8 Ways to Save on Hospitality Water Costs

By Peter Biermayer

From guest showers to kitchens, hotels and resorts can reduce hospitality operational expenses by using water and energy more efficiently. Water and energy efficiency can translate to cost savings for hospitality facilities by installing energy-efficient fixtures, changing employee behavior and inviting guests to conserve.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 17% of publicly supplied water and 18% of energy is used by hospitality providers. A hospitality facility’s water usage and energy consumption are related. Hotels, motels and resorts are strong candidates for hospitality retrofits aimed at reducing energy consumption.

Efficient water measures impact energy consumption
Hotels can implement a number of efficient water actions that impact water and energy usage. This list of easier-to-implement actions can yield operational expense savings for a hospitality facility in a relatively short time frame.

  • Installing low-flow aerators in restrooms. Hand-sink faucets can use as much as 10 gallons of water per minute when not equipped with efficient water aerators.1 Low-flow aerators can help reduce water usage resulting in savings on water-heating costs.
  • Monitoring water temperature. Consistently check the temperature requirements in the different areas of your facility. Work to maintain optimal temperature requirements to ensure that your facility’s water heater is not being overworked.
  • Calling leaks to attention. Leaks can equal waste. Hotels can educate their staff on the importance of calling leaks and other building issues to the attention of maintenance staff or management. Doing so immediately can better prevent further damage and potential high costs in the long term.
  • Implementing energy-efficient plumbing fixtures. There are more options than ever for energy-efficient plumbing. Fixtures such as aerating shower heads and other options that feature pause or shut-off valves can help reduce excess water and associated energy usage.

A method already instituted by numerous hotels to reduce energy consumption is linens reuse. Linen reuse programs help reduce laundry loads by 17%.2 Four Points by Sheraton San Francisco Bay Bridge, Emeryville, Calif., implemented this system, which reduced its water consumption to a rate of less than 50,000 gallons a year. Additionally, this reduced gas consumption by nearly 6,500 therms.3

Exterior water-efficiency options
Landscaping, depending on hotel property and location, can use more water than sanitation or cleaning. Using efficient irrigation technology can help hospitality businesses apply the right level of water needed for each area.

Drip irrigation systems and rotary spray heads are just some of the technologies that help reduce water usage. According to the EPA, rotary spray heads deliver water in a thick stream for better plant coverage and to prevent water from being lost to evaporation and wind. Another technology, weather-based irrigation controllers (WBICs) use weather data to adjust to an irrigation system’s schedule.4 With information about climate conditions, provided by its local weather station, a signal-based controller can update the current schedule for smart irrigation systems for more efficient water usage.

Lower installation costs
Energy-efficient equipment, such as water heaters and water heater boilers, generally has a measurable impact on reduced energy consumption and operational expenses. Hotels that decide to replace their facility’s water heater should consider the following steps to ensure getting the best equipment for their facility’s needs at the best price:

  • Look for the label. Understanding the energy factor (EF) or thermal efficiency label on a water heater lets businesses know its energy usage. The yellow energy guide label also shows average cost of use. Products with a higher EF provide greater efficiency.
  • Utilize industry expertise. Contractors and technicians can provide maintenance best practices and industry insights for seamless installations or retrofits.
  • Apply for a rebate or incentive.Businesses can utilize available rebates from PG&E for water heaters. The utility’s Demand Response programs can also help hospitality providers take advantage of incentives that help further reduce operational costs.
  • Complete an energy audit. Energy audits with PG&E can help hotels identify which kinds of retrofits would bring them the highest cost savings.

From propane to electric, natural gas or solar, contractors can help hospitality providers choose the right water heater type for their business needs. They can also help initiate an energy audit, an effective way for hotels to learn about energy use and identify custom efficiency options.

To take the next step and achieve further hospitality energy savings, download the "How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project" eBook from PG&E. Learn what best practices you can implement to increase the longevity and efficacy of your water management system.

Referenced in article:
  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency



Find out how one hospitality provider reduced 95% of its hot water usage, reducing its annual water consumption to less than 50K gallons:
  • SMB Blog Author
    Peter Biermayer
    Senior Product Manager at PG&E for commercial HVAC and refrigeration. Peter has a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and has over thirty years of experience in the energy efficiency field, including work at a research development and testing laboratory, a national laboratory performing analysis for energy regulations, a resource efficiency manager at a military base and now at PG&E.

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