How Can We Help?

Water Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarks for Offices and Hotels (2006)

You are here:
← All Topics

R Waggett C Arotsky

Faber Maunsell
Rickaby Thompson Associates


Water resources, sustainable resource use, water infrastructure, facilities management, internal environment, environmental good practice, sustainable construction, building technology


With the increasing requirement to safeguard water supplies in the UK and implement sustainable water use, managers of offices and hotels need to know what the indicators are of national trends and what benchmarks are appropriate for their buildings.

This report describes a study that has used data from a number of water companies to establish the ranges of usage at present and to set benchmarks for better practice. It will enable managers to understand whether their office or hotel is performing well or poorly in comparison with other similar buildings in the UK. Guidance is provided on actions that can be taken to reduce usage. It will also inform designers about target usage and will be of value to those who wish to carry out similar benchmarking studies and future researchers.

Introduction and background

This report summarises an approach to find suitable benchmarks for water use in offices and hotels across the UK. The aim is to enable managers of offices and hotels to understand whether their property is performing well or poorly in comparison with other similar buildings in the UK, and to inform designers about target usage.

1.1 The project need

The project need was identified from the increasing requirement to safeguard water resources and supplies in the UK and implement sustainable water use. Practitioners working to advise the office and hotel sectors on reductions to water consumption had identified a shortage of useful data. In particular there was a lack of suitable benchmarking information facilitating a simple method of comparing the water consumption of a particular property with national trends.

Similar information is available for energy use in offices and other buildings, and is regularly used at both the design and operation/management phases of buildings to identify whether action is required. The aim of this project was to provide similar data for water consumption which is accessible for use by interested parties including property managers, owners and operators.

The objectives of this project were to:

  • ?  collate and analyse existing data and information that is representative of UK water use
  • ?  provide facility managers, building engineers and designers with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from which benchmarks for water efficiency in domestic, commercial and hotel environments can be set
  • ?  help improve water efficiency and encourage the sustainable use of water within buildings
  • ?  set up and manage a network of stakeholders – including developers, engineers, regulators, water utilities, government and consumers – to share information and disseminate guidance to end users
  • ?  make recommendations for further work.These original objectives included the production of a KPI for commercial buildings which would include factory buildings. However this was modified following discussion with the project steering group at an early stage, given that factory process use is difficult to predict and already adequately covered by Envirowise guidance information1. Non-process use would be essentially office based and could be dealt with by the provision of an office benchmark from this project.It was also originally intended to include residential use within the study, but the availability of data for the residential element proved extremely problematic and it was agreed that the study should analyse just the hotels and offices sectors. These sectors are described in detail in this report.