Living in Ireland with our rainy Atlantic climate, you may think that water conservation isn’t an issue, but this simply isn’t the case. Rainwater must be treated to be suitable for human consumption, which uses energy and can only be done through a limited number of facilities. Over the course of a year, a school uses a huge amount of water, but a few small changes can help you to reduce your consumption. Below are our top tips for saving water in schools.
STEP 1: FIND OUT HOW MUCH WATER IS BEING USED
Understanding how much water is being used is an essential first step in conserving water. The school’s water meter should be checked at least once a week and the findings logged. This will give you a baseline to evaluate the success of your water conservation efforts.
You should also try switching off all water fittings and taking a meter reading last thing on Friday. If the meter reading has increased on Monday morning, this is indicative of leaky piping that will need further investigation.
STEP 2: CARRY OUT A WATER AUDIT
You should carry out a comprehensive water audit to establish where water is being used wasted. Use a plan of the school that shows the incoming water supply, metres, pipes and fixtures to note faults or inefficiencies.
STEP 3: ADDRESS THE WASTAGE WITH SIMPLE MEASURES
Once you identified the wastages, there are many low-cost or no-cost measures that you can employ to reduce the amount of water your school is using. These include:
FIXING LEAKING TAPS
According to Dublin City Council, a tap dripping at one drip per second can waste up to 4,500 litres of water per year. A lot of the time, taps can be easily and cheaply repaired.
INSTALLING TOILET CISTERN DISPLACEMENT DEVICES
Toilet cistern displacement devices reduce the amount of water that is being used per flush. These low-tech units are simply placed into the cistern and require no plumbing expertise to fit.
NO HOSE POLICY
A hose uses 500 litres of water in one hour. Wherever possible, watering cans should be used in maintaining the school’s plants and trees. Water butts can also be used to collect rainwater from drain pipes for gardening.
STEP 4: PHASE OUT INEFFICIENT FIXTURES
MANUAL FLUSHING CISTERNS
Many school urinals automatically flush 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, irrespective of whether they are being used or not. This is an incredible waste of water. Schools should phase out these devices and replace them with manual flush units.
INSTALL MORE EFFICIENT TAPS
Installing self-closing, push taps that turn off after a pre-set period or motion sensor taps will dramatically cut down water wastage from the faucets.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
The above suggestions are not exhaustive and if you have more ideas please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Why not also check out our blog post on Energy Saving Tips for Cutting the School Electricity Bill?
- While 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 1% is suitable for human consumption.
- 99% of all water on the planet is either saline or locked in glaciers.
- Water is essential for life. Everything from single-celled organisms to the largest mammals need water to live.
- While the east coast of Ireland receives an average of 151 wet days a year and the west coast 225, water conservation is still a massive issue in Ireland.
- A person can live only about a week without water.
- A person uses about 150 litres of clean treated water per day.
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