The average restaurant uses 6,000 gallons of water per day. Increasing the water efficiency of the operation saves money, reduces the burden on the municipal water supply, and eases the impact on wastewater systems.
A water-efficient restaurant is one that uses at least 20% less water than the calculated baseline for the building before any water saving strategies were employed. On average, a restaurant that reduces its water consumption by 20% can expect to save $1100 per year. The following checklist is designed to help identify water saving opportunities for restaurants.
Water Efficiency for the Kitchen
About 50% of a restaurant’s water use occurs in the kitchen.
▢ Turn off the continuous flow used to wash drain trays at beverage islands. Clean only as needed.
▢ Adjust ice machines to dispense less if ice is being wasted.
▢ Presoak utensils and dishes in basins of water instead of running water.
▢ Replace pre-rinse sprayers that can use as much as 4.5 gallons per minute (GPM) with low-volume nozzles that use 2.0 GPM.
▢ Do not use running water in bar sinks to melt ice.
▢ Consider installing foot triggers at food preparation faucets.
▢ Use automatic shut-off faucets at bar sinks.
▢ Serve water only upon request
Water Efficiency in Restrooms
Restroom water use accounts for approximately 35% of the restaurant’s total.
▢ Repair leaks immediately! A toilet can leak more than 50 gallons per day, and a dripping faucet can leak 1,000 gallons a week.
▢ Existing faucets can consume as much as 2.5 GPM. Replace with WaterSense fixtures, or if the faucet does not need to be replaced, use low-volume faucet aerators.
▢ Replace tank toilets that can use 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) or more with WaterSense certified toilets that use 1.28 GPF or less.
▢ Inefficient tankless toilets can be retrofitted with a flush valve that uses 1.28 GPF or less.
▢Urinals can use as much as 5.0 GPF. Replace the unit or retrofit the flush valve to use as little as 0.25 GPF!
Water Efficiency and Building Maintenance
▢ Repair plumbing leaks immediately.
▢ Read water meters monthly and compare the results. Monitoring meters aides in identifying leaks as well as conservation efforts.
▢ Check water system pressure. If the pressure exceeds 60 psi, install pressure-reducing valves.
▢ Adjust boiler and cooling tower blowdown rate to maintain total dissolved solids (TDS) levels at manufacturers’ specifications.
Water Efficiency and Landscaping
▢ Look for signs of established plants beginning to wilt before watering. Water the landscape only as needed.
▢ Irrigate when wind and evaporation are at the lowest — early morning and at night.
▢ Install automatic rain shut-off mechanism on sprinkler systems.
▢ Avoid runoff (wasted water) by checking to verify sprinklers are directing water to the landscape, not driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, or other paved areas.
▢ Adjust the system to accommodate seasonal changes — sprinklers often do not need to run as much during fall and spring.
▢ The use of native plants in the landscape means those plants can excel without the need for additional irrigation. Drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, or xeriscape plants will also lower the need for irrigation.
Water Efficiency — General
▢ All hoses should have shut-off valves.
▢ Use a broom to clear paved areas from debris instead of a hose.
▢ Use reclaimed water from rain barrels for irrigation.
▢ Educate employees about the importance of water conservation and the measures being employed to reduce water use.
▢ Assign an employee to be involved in the restaurant’s conservation efforts.
▢ Install signs in key areas, such as the restrooms and on tables, that encourage water conservation.
Saving water matters. Not only can you impact the bottom line of your restaurant, but you can also ease the burden on the municipal systems that process the water. Once you’ve identified key areas where your business can save, be sure to check Sustainable Supply for low prices and fast, free shipping on orders over $75.