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What’s the Problem

14 June 2010

FMs save energy and heat but saving water is a harder sell. At work, water is drunk, flushed and sometimes floods in unwanted. This PFM survey attempts to see how aware FMs are of water issues in the workplace

DURING APRIL AND MAY 2010, PFM readers responded to our short Water@Work survey to give an indication of how important water issues are in their wiorkplaces.
The respondents worked mostly in the private sector (48.8 percent), with 59.5 percent responsible for 1-5 buildings. Some 56.7 percent had up to 1,000 people accessing their main building on a daily basis, and a significant 18.9 percent had more than 1,000 people working or visiting their main location.
The key water use in their main building was in the washrooms (68.5 percent), catering kitchens (34.5 percent) and heating and cooling systems (29.1 percent). More than half (57.6 percent) said the analysised data from water meters, but this appeared to be the limit of investment in water saving initiatives. One third of respondents (29.6 percent) had no initiatives in place at all to manage and conserve water. Even the simplest adjustments like changing to waterless urinals was reported by only 7.2 percent although a further 9 percent are considering changing to waterless urinals in future. This is a small percentage considering the known water saving capacity of this particular technology.
Uptake on grey water systems and rainwater harvesting was, as expected for the level of investment involved and possible physical restrictions of building stock, less than 10 percent each (6.4 and 7.2 percent respectively). However of those planning to invest in water conservation and management at their main site within the next two years, for rainwater harvesting and water meter data analysis were the most popular at 18 percent, and grey water systems at 9.8 percent Our FMs’ experience of flooding of their premises revealed that 22.4 percent were responsible for buildling located in a known flood risk area, and 18.5 percent had experienced flooding. Half of these flood incidents (54.2 percent) had been in the last five years, and 29.2 percent in the last 12 months. It took a week for 60.9 percent of respondents premises to be ready for occupation after the flood, 21.7 percent took up to 10 weeks, and a significant 17.4 percent took up to a year.
Survey highlights
29.2% were flooded in the last 12 months
Only 7% have waterless urinals
29.6% have no inititiaves in place to manage and conserve water


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