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Saving Water in Educational Facilities (2012)

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This document provides advice on water saving in educational facilities, in the context of the USA. It is produced by the WaterSense.

Commercial and institutional buildings use a large portion of municipally supplied water in the United States. With so many businesses making up the commercial and institutional sector, there are great opportunities to conserve water. WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities promotes water-efficient techniques that can be applied across a wide range of facilities with varying water needs.

Approximately 6 percent of total water use in commercial and institutional facilities takes place in educational facilities, such as schools, universities, museums and libraries in the United States.1 The largest uses of water in educational facilities are restrooms, landscaping, heating and cooling, and cafeteria kitchens.


Over the past 10 years, the costs of water and wastewater services have risen at a rate well above the consumer price index. Facility managers can expect these and other utility costs to continue to increase in order to offset the costs of replacing aging water supply systems.

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Operating costs and environmental impacts are influenced by water use. Industry estimates suggest that implementing water-efficient practices can decrease operating costs by approximately 11 percent and energy and water use by 10 and 15 percent, respectively.2

Many campuses have found it necessary to expand their facilities in order to keep up with the needs of a growing student body. Today’s students are also looking for schools to demonstrate sustainable principles. Additionally, meeting voluntary green standards such as LEED® certification can be achieved through water efficiency in building design.

New building codes often require installation of water- efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances, which use at least 20 percent less water than standard models.