Advice on tap: South West leisure businesses taking advantage of water efficiency savings

Hotels, holiday parks and leisure attractions across the South West are among the region’s businesses celebrating, thanks to Source for Business helping them to save a staggering £1m off their water and sewerage bills last year

Over the last 12 months, Source for Business - the new business support service from South West Water – has provided hundreds of businesses across the region with practical support and advice on water efficiency, resulting in thousands of pounds of savings off their water and sewerage bills, alongside reductions of up to 15% in water consumption.

With services ranging from water efficiency audits to identifying and preventing leaks, monitoring usage and advising on waste management, the team at Source for Business is keen to continue the substantial savings already secured for the region’s leisure businesses.

Head of business development at Source for Business, David Roberts, explains: “Source for Business is here to help the region’s businesses save water and save money. Our team is committed to delivering savings for our customers, helping to identify initiatives that will reduce water consumption, improve water efficiency and above all generate savings.

“We have been working with many hotels, holiday parks, restaurants and leisure attractions throughout the South West to highlight where and how savings can be made, and are delighted to have helped our business customers to achieve £1m worth of savings in the last financial year. It’s a tremendous achievement and clearly demonstrates how making small changes to water efficiency across a business can really save money on the bottom line.”

Since April 2011 more than 500 businesses across Cornwall, Devon and parts of Dorset and Somerset, including hotels, holiday parks, schools and restaurants have taken advantage of the water efficiency audits provided by Source for Business.

A comprehensive audit, carried out by experienced water efficiency auditors, can offer valuable insight into much more than just usage and leakage management. The aim of the audit is to identify opportunities for businesses to use water wisely and ultimately reduce costs. Typically taking around 2 hours, an audit can reveal thousands of pounds worth of savings – an opportunity not to be overlooked by any business.

Among those leisure businesses already benefiting from significant savings and reduced water consumption, include Holiday Inn Plymouth, Ilfracombe-based John Fowler Holidays, Brixham Holiday Park and Falmouth Beach Hotel.

Top 10 tips for reducing water usage in your business:

  • Appoint a member of staff to monitor water usage and identify water-saving measures i.e. through regular site checks and Business Accounts Online
  • Check your meter reading regularly, install a data logger to monitor flow and identify leaks
  • Develop a water management plan for your site
  • Educate employees about implementing water saving measures
  • Ensure new equipment is water and energy efficient – it will pay off in the long term
  • Fit water-efficient devices i.e. push-taps, low-flush toilets, flow regulators or restricters. The payback can be as little as five weeks
  • Fix dripping taps and leaks as quickly as possible
  • Install a hippo or save-a-flush device in toilets to reduce water use
  • Invest in alternative water sources i.e. rainwater harvesting
  • Review your plans to reduce water use at least once a year

To book a free consultation or to find out more about water efficiency advice visit www.sourceforbusiness.co.uk or call 0800 23 00 756

Case Study: Holiday Inn, Plymouth
Date of audit: March 2011
Water consumption reduced: 13%
Equivalent savings: £13,500

A visit from Shaun Dodd, a water efficiency auditor from Source for Business to the Plymouth Holiday Inn, in March 2011 was the start of substantial money savings for the hotel.

As part of the initial inspection, Shaun identified that although the hotel’s plumbing was in good condition across the site, there were a series of simple improvements identified, which if made could account for worthwhile savings in just a few months.

For a hotel the size of the Holiday Inn, one of the higher water usage areas is the toilet facilities. With over 200 toilets across the hotel - this was identified as a priority area where water usage could be reduced immediately. At the time of the audit the majority of toilets were flushing at 9 litres per flush – the standard rate for a cistern installed before 1993.

As part of Shaun’s recommendations, the hotel was advised to install a cistern displacement device – otherwise known as a Hippo or Save-a-Flush – to all toilet cisterns, instantly saving 2.5 litres per flush, which on average resulted in a staggering 34,000 litres saved per week. What was even more satisfying for hotel manager, Willem Hamel, was that 233 Hippo and Save-a-Flush devices were given free as part of the audit, and he could see the savings beginning to add up, as soon as the devices were fitted.

Other recommendations identified to save water across the site, included covering the hotel’s swimming pool when not in use to limit evaporation, adhering to the service schedule for washing machines - only using with a full load, installing passive infrared controls to urinals and reducing flow rates to basin taps.

David Roberts, head of business development at Source for Business explains:
“Holiday Inn Plymouth is a great example of a business which is already actively committed to protecting the environment and has the desire to reduce usage and costs. The hotel already operates an efficient system, however, the team identified areas where further substantial savings could be made – over 3,100 cubic metres per year – equivalent to one and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Willem Hamel, general manager at Holiday Inn Plymouth, added:
“As a large hotel with 211 rooms, seven conference suites plus our panoramic restaurant and several bars, we were very aware of our water usage and keen to reduce the amount of water we used across the hotel without impacting on the service we provide to our guests and facilities for team members.

“Following the advice given as part of the audit last year, we have reduced our water consumption by 13% which equates to a saving of more than £13,500 over the year. It was a very useful exercise with fantastic results for our hotel.”

Case Study: Brixham Holiday Park
Date of audit: December 2011
Water consumption reduced: 16% (1.2m litres)
Equivalent savings: £5,000

For one Devon holiday park, the efficiencies identified as part of a Source for Business water audit have delivered annual savings of almost £5,000 and reduced consumption by 16% - the equivalent to 1,200,000 litres of water. Last December, Source for Business conducted an efficiency audit at Brixham Holiday Park, helping to identify where and how water was being used across the site, and where efficiency savings could be made.

With 79 self-catering chalets and 17 static caravans, Brixham Holiday Park welcomes around 43,000 guests a year and has a daily staff total of 28. In addition, the park operates indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a clubhouse bar, takeaway restaurant and launderette, amounting to considerable water usage throughout the 32-week opening season.

Results from the water audit showed that substantial savings could be made across virtually all of park’s toilets, showers and basins by simply reducing the flow of water. Recommendations included installing cistern displacement devices in all the toilets – instantly saving 2.5 litres per flush, in addition to reducing the flow of hot and cold taps to the recommended 6 litres per minute and likewise using restrictors to reduce the flow of water in the showers from 12 to 8 litres per minute.

Flow monitoring focus

Monitoring the flow of water across the entire park has helped park manager Margaret Tudge to build an accurate picture of water usage trends, identifying peaks and troughs of consumption.

Data loggers capture the flow rate every 15 minutes, offering an up to date picture of what’s happening across the site.

Margaret commented:
"I look at the flow reports everyday, they really help us to keep track of usage as well as costs. Since the monitoring equipment was installed, our water usage at the park has reduced from 490 litres to 90 litres per hour. A big part of the reduction was a leak which previously we didn’t know about, but was detected by the loggers, so we were able to repair it and start to reap the benefits straight away.”

Head of business development at Source for Business, David Roberts, said:
“Source for Business is here to help the region’s businesses save water and save money. Our team is committed to delivering savings for our customers, helping to identify initiatives that will reduce water consumption, improve water efficiency and above all generate savings.

“The initiatives that Margaret and the team at Brixham have implemented are already demonstrating thousands of pounds worth of savings for the holiday park – and making it easier for them to keep a close eye on how and where water is being used.”

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