Saving Water in Seattle: Local Business Conservation Efforts

Water is one of our most valuable resources on the planet. And, though the earth holds around 332.5 million cubic miles of water, less than four percent of it is fit for consumption. In honor of Earth Day we salute the local Seattle businesses that have made great efforts in water conservation.

In an effort to reduce our fresh water consumption, many Seattle companies have been making water conservation a top priority.

Image Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives Online

Fred Hutchinson Image Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives Online

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Like every medical facility, sterile water is vital to ensuring the safety of patients and staff alike. Because the traditional process of creating purified water by reverse osmosis resulted in a loss of half the water supply, another solution was sought out resulting in a fifty percent reduction in waste water. This $300 solution paid for itself in within weeks of implementation.

In 2002, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center won the Mayor’s Environmental Leadership award for their progress in water conservation and waste recycling.

W Hotel Courtesy Flickr User Payton Chung

W Hotel Courtesy Flickr User Payton Chung

The W Hotel

With over 400 guest rooms, the W Hotel requires an abundance of water for laundry services alone. By installing a laundry water reclaim system, they were able to capture hot water condensate thus reducing (and nearly eliminating) the need for potable water in the laundry room. In addition, the facility was able to significantly reduce their utility bills by producing less waste water and electrical bills by requiring less energy to heat the water.

The results of this transformation, courtesy of AquaRecycle, have gone above and beyond expectations proving that we can reduce the need for fresh water without compromising standards.

Dining Establishments

Some restaurants like the Pink Door or Toscana Pizzaria have replaced their refrigeration units with air-cooled models.

Seattle Municipal Tower Image Courtesy City of Seattle

Seattle Municipal Tower Image Courtesy City of Seattle

Rather than use the standard water-cooling systems than many restaurants use in their walk-in coolers or ice chests, these air-cooled systems have successfully reduced water consumption by 50% over the last few years. When considering the Seattle Public Utility rebate, the conversion to an air-cooled refrigeration system has paid for itself within a single year and continues to use as much as one-third less water than before.

Seattle Municipal Tower Hybrid Cooling Tower

The Seattle Municipal Hybrid cooling tower is the first of its kind to function with or without water. Composed of two different chambers, this cooling tower can sufficiently cool water and condense steam using less energy and about 45 percent less water than previous towers.

The Seattle Times

In 2001, the Seattle Times updated its irrigation system from a standard timer operation to a “smart” design, complete with weather sensors and an advanced leak detection system.

By detecting leaks, shutting the area down and sending an alert about the leak, this smart irrigation has been able to save about 6,000 gallons of water each day.

University of Washington

Over the last decade, the University of Washington has gone to great lengths to conserve water, including leak repairs, updates to toilets, faucets and shower heads, and the installation of a trap cooling kit. Over the years, these water-conserving improvements have saved the school $19 million.

High Performance Car Wash

Seattle residents are proud of their vehicles and want to keep them clean. But the process of washing cars consumes a large amount of water. That’s why High Performance Car Wash has undergone renovations to reduce the amount of water waste created by patrons of their facility, specifically the installation of a new water reclaim system.

The new bioreclaim water system now cleans water drain-off to be used again. They have reduced the use of dangerous chemicals which makes the clean-up process easier resulting in a savings of about 1.5 million gallons of water annually.

Water is a valuable resource that should not be taken for granted. Many Seattle companies realize this and have been making great strides to protect it by implementing innovative water conservation strategies. By focusing on leak detection, over consumption and water recycling options, these Seattle businesses have saved billions of gallons of water each year and that number continues to increase.

Celebrate Earth Day by focusing on the areas of your home that use the most water. Faucets, shower heads, and toilets can be upgraded to low-flow versions. Find and fix water leaks around the home to save money and the integrity of your property. Conservation efforts are important to the environment and can save you money too.