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How To Reduce Water Usage in Apartment Buildings

Unclear on how to reduce water usage, or why you would even want to try? The truth is, you can start saving money immediately by learning and implementing these great ways to conserve water.

When it comes to apartment management, collecting rent isn’t the only way you’re going to make a profit. Saving money is what it’s all about and there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your overall cost of operation. Learning how to reduce water usage in your apartment buildings is one great way to save on water costs.

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how to reduce water usage

It’s easy to forget about water until you’re having problems with it. Fixing your water-related problems can be a costly venture, but what about when you’re not having mechanical problems? Unmanaged water use can quickly become unnecessarily expensive. It’s not only bad for your profit margins, but it also doesn’t help the environment very much. Water is a precious resource, and the more clean water wasted, the more expensive it becomes to you and everyone else.

But don’t despair if you are clueless about how to reduce water usage. Here, we have numerous suggestions and tips for ways to conserve water. The bottomline: understanding ways to stop wasting water will help to reduce your usage costs, allowing you to save money—which means you’ll be making more money. We can already see you smiling!

11 Water Saving Tips for Managing Water Costs in your Apartment or Condominium Complex

  • Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® rated equipment. This is one of the easiest ways to conserve water and begin to save money in the long-term, after the initial cost associated with upgrading water heaters, dishwashers, and other appliances that rely on water. ENERGY STAR® rated equipment will reduce water usage by up to 10%. That’s a huge savings to you, and your residents will likely appreciate the updated appliances!
  • Inform and educate your renters about reducing water usage. It might seem a bit “out of the box” to suggest that your tenants reduce their water usage. But many people are putting a priority on sustainability in today’s world, and that goes for inside the home as well. Putting some effort towards helping them understand that less water usage equals less rent increases can definitely be worth the savings to everyone! Try hanging attractive signage in common areas with water saving tips and information on how to reduce water usage. Explain how this mutual goal is beneficial to everyone and get them working together to create a sense of community. You might even sponsor a contest and offer a one-time rental discount for coming up with unique ways to stop wasting water!
  • Encourage residents to take showers, not baths. The average gallons of water per shower (with a low flow shower head) is 15 to 25 gallons for a 5 minute shower. Compare that to the average bath which weighs in at 36 gallons of water. Shortening shower times can also reduce the gallons of water per shower.
  • Install shower heads that regulate flow. This is especially true if your shower heads were installed before 1992. Before 1992 some shower heads had flow rates of 5.5 gallons/minute. Now federal regulations say shower heads must not exceed 2.5 gallons/minute. It’s pretty easy math – an additional 3 gallons per minute can add up pretty quickly with a daily shower routine! These shower heads will lower water flow without reducing water pressure. 2.5 gallons/minute or less will not bother your renters and help you save big.
  • Encourage residents to turn off the water when brushing their teeth or shaving. Many of us remember these life skills from elementary school or lectures from home. But not everyone got a great education in ways to conserve water so it doesn’t hurt to remind people.
  • Low-flow and high-efficiency toilets will save you money immediately. Install them now and they’ll pay for themselves over time. Toilets are the biggest water users in each unit. Toilets over ten years old use between 4.5 to 5.5 gallons per flush; modern low flow toilets use 1.33 gallons per flush while still doing the same job.
  • Have sink aerators installed. If your sink fixtures are new these may already be in place, but if they are old you want to make sure to add them! They can be fitted to the end of some faucets, or consider purchasing new ones. These reduce the flow of water by 1.5 gallons/minute and can save the average household 700 gallons/year of water. Talk about easy ways to stop wasting water!
  • Schedule regular maintenance evaluations with your maintenance crew or a plumber you trust. Knowledge is power, and these evaluations can help you to understand the big picture. It will also inform you about what needs fixing, and it’s possible you may not be aware of any so-called silent leaks in your buildings.
  • Fix those leaky faucets! If a faucet drips once per second, expect to be wasting 44 gallons of water a week. Leaky plumbing can waste thousands of dollars, so this is another easy one when it comes to water saving tips.
  • Keep a close eye on your water bills. Like scheduled maintenance, paying attention to your water bill can give you a sense of the overall picture. You’ll also be able to see if you effort is paying off! And it can help to identify those “silent leaks” that might be getting in the way of your efforts to reduce water usage.
  • Turn down the thermostats on water heaters. This won’t actually impact your water usage, but it will save you money on your energy bill. Really, how hot does hot water need to be? Save 3% to 5% for every 10°F reduction. 120°F is the best goal. Check our safe temp chart here.

Don’t Forget About Landscaping!

Landscaping offers another great opportunity for ways to conserve water. Check out these additional water saving tips:

  • Water landscape 2 to 3 times a week instead of every day.
  • Remove weeds and other unwanted plants to preserve water for your desired landscape.
  • Time watering when evaporation is the lowest: early morning or evenings are best.
  • Use mulch around plants to avoid evaporation and keep weeds to a minimum.

The average person uses 50 to 75 gallons of water per day. Water usage expenses in an apartment or condominium complex are responsible for a huge portion of operating costs. These solutions are simple to do, good for the environment and pay for themselves quickly. Your tenants will be willing to help if they’re properly educated. In addition, if these savings allow you to keep the monthly rental fees down, you can bet you’ll have happier residents. They’ll be more likely to stay living in your units longer, thus providing you with a steadier and consistent cash flow.

Truth is, you can start saving money immediately by reducing water usage. There are plenty of other ways to make your complex more energy efficient overall, but water is clearly one of the more expensive drains on your profit margin, while being one of the easiest to upgrade, manage and conserve. Remember, making money isn’t just about charging rent. Saving money is equal to making money!

Image By Nicole-Koehler (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons. All images licensed for use under the Creative Commons

4 Responses to How To Reduce Water Usage in Apartment Buildings
  1. Awesome article! These are some great ideas. Any input on where can a landlord go to get good deals on high-efficiency and low flow appliances?

  2. Thank you, Eric!

    That can be a complicated answer because there’s SO much out there to fit various needs. Sorting through all of the product options can get overwhelming, so start by reading these shopping tips: Then use the Energy Star product finder to pinpoint the types of equipment you’re looking for and compare specific products to narrow down the best fit for your needs. The site doesn’t include pricing, but once you get the specific products narrowed down you can then shop around locally to find the best deals for the best products.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Pingback: Building a Green Community: Cultivating Tenant Buy-In « Welcome to Reliable Water Services Blogs

  4. Pingback: 4 tips for apartment complex owners looking to save money

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