Hotels are vying for our attention by marketing their first class accommodations, outstanding guest services, and careful attention to their carbon footprint. While some have tackled waste and energy management, the pressure and focus is now being placed on measuring and reducing water consumption.
On average, a single hotel consumes between 50,000 and 320,000 gallons of water each day, making the hospitality industry one of the largest consumers of water. In an effort to begin planning a long-term sustainability program surrounding New York City’s water supply and draw the needed attention to the importance of water and its conservation, New York City has launched a Hotel Water Conservation Challenge. Eleven of the city’s premier hotels will be participating in the challenge and have pledged to reduce their annual water consumption by 5 percent, thereby saving a total of approximately 13 million gallons of water each year and potentially saving them each between $10,000.00 and $70,000 on their annual water bills.
The participating hotels have been equipped with automated meter reading devices and water meters, which help to calculate the water consumption in near real time. Using 12 months of water consumption data, they will establish a baseline profile and look at where their ‘weak spots’ lie. For example, they will be looking into better housekeeping techniques (such as finding and repairing leaks more quickly) and figure out ways to advocate for customers to cut down on their water usage as well. In addition to this, the hotels are already working on replacing inefficient plumbing features with newer, more conservative technologies.
The water conservation challenge is only one part of The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) “Water for the Future Program” that will help to ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for nine million New Yorkers for decades to come.
In addition to the conservation challenge, the program is also aiming toward raising money for the maintenance and repair of the Delaware Aqueduct, which supplies roughly half of the city’s daily water needs and identifying opportunities to conserve water at City-owned properties and facilities. As part of this program, DEP has partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install activation buttons on spray showers in 400 playgrounds around the city that will save 1.5 million gallons of water a day. DEP has also begun updating bathroom fixtures in 500 city schools that will save an additional 4 million gallons of water each day. To help encourage water conservation in private residences, later this year DEP will begin a voucher program that aims to replace up to 800,000 inefficient toilets with high efficiency models that will save up to 30 million gallons of water a day by 2018.
Attention to the conservation of water is necessary to improving its quality and quantity for our future generations.