Mark Taylor, Advanced Services Operations Manager at Water Plus, the UK’s largest water retailer, shares his top tips for how hotels can keep water usage to a minimum and cut the impact of leaks.
The late summer months spell the busiest time of the year for hotels. But while warmer weather often brings an uptick in reservations, this can also result in a surge in water usage which can increase a hotel’s water bill and intensify the effects of an interrupted supply.
Ensuring your water pipe network, in the boundaries of your site, is in a fit state may not appear to be a priority when it comes to running a busy hotel, but any issues to the supply can be deceptively costly. A burst pipe can lose as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour, which could cost a business more than £26,000 a year if it went unchecked. A dripping pipe, while not as expensive, can still result in a significant financial burden.
There are four key steps hotel owners can take to cut their bills and potential water losses, as well as stop their business grinding to a halt during the rest of the year.
Use water data to find new savings
Hotels are responsible for paying for all the water that passes through their meters, even if it is lost through a leak. Monitoring devices, from data loggers and leak detection systems, to regularly checking your water meter reading, are an effective method of tracking everyday usage, which can help owners spot where less water can be used and bring costs down, particularly across large sites.
In addition, looking closer at usage will give you an idea of how much water would be needed if there was an interruption in supply. This helps with contingency planning for such a scenario. It also means that any unexpected surges in consumption, which can indicate a pipe leak, can be spotted and a repair organised promptly, if necessary.
Of course, the savings that can be achieved from this approach increase with scale.
Install water-saving devices to cut bills
Measures that can be used to cut usage, such as tap adaptors (aerators) and flush-savers in toilets, can also go a long way to slashing the size of a bill. One of these devices can save approximately 1.2 litres on every flush, which when put into context of a large site or a chain of hotels, can save a business tens of thousands of pounds over a 12-month period alone. One hotel group have used almost 8,000 flush savers to reduce its annual bill by £52,000.
Aerators on showers, urinal controllers and even waterless urinals, using rainwater for toilets, can also all contribute to cutting water use at your hotel and reducing bills.
While these devices require an upfront investment, the reduced usage and lower bills make it a profitable outlay over the long-term. There is also government support available through the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme, which enables businesses to claim 100% first year capital allowance on all the measures listed on its approved directory.
Take a proactive approach to finding leaks
Alongside water-saving measures, it’s also important to have the appropriate steps in place to spot leaks and burst pipes, given the volumes of water and money that can be lost as a result.
As a first step, owners should check for any obvious leaks across their sites, from dripping taps to malfunctioning urinals and overflowing toilet cisterns.
In a hotel, there is a little opportunity to find hidden leaks that may be underground and not easy to see. Turning off every tap and water appliance to take meter readings, which will identify whether there is a problem, particularly during a busy summer period is in many cases not possible, even overnight. In this case, it may be useful to use a specialist leak detection service periodically to check your infrastructure.
Overall, introducing these simple steps hold the potential for significant benefits, not only by reducing cost and enhancing business resilience, but in helping hotel owners ensure their sites are more sustainable.
Be prepared for supply interruptions and have a plan
As well as taking the preventative steps already mentioned, you’ll also need a contingency plan in place for alternative water supplies for use if supply stops suddenly due to a burst pipe on site or on the wholesaler’s network or during planned work by the water wholesaler.