You are in the information portal of Green Building Council of Australia website.


Date Added: 21/05/2010 Last Updated: 21/05/2010
The information in this article could be out-of-date or no longer relevant.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet. Water is our most precious resource, and the far-reaching effects of climate change will mean water prices rise substantially. Taking a proactive approach to water conservation can save your business on both water and energy costs.

Simple solutions

  • Become a water wise office. Implement a water-saving education program, encourage staff to turn off taps completely, reuse drinking water for plants, and report leaking taps and other plumbing issues promptly.
  • Tune up your building. Commission a water audit to identify simple measures you can implement to save water. Ask your landlord to conduct maintenance to check for leaking cooling towers, and to ensure they are operating to optimum standards. Also, ask the landlord to conduct fire testing monthly, rather than weekly, and install a recycling system to capture and reuse fire services testing water.

Interior green fitouts

  • Reduce your tap flow. A flow regulator or tap aerator reduces the amount of water coming out of your taps without you even noticing. While you're at it, install a water filter on the kitchen sink and say goodbye to bottled water, which generates more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia each year - the same amount that 13,000 cars generate over the course of a year.
  • Choose an eco-friendly dishwasher. Only use the dishwasher when it's full, and then only on economy cycle. When purchasing a new dishwasher, choose one with a minimum 3.5 ENERGY STAR rating - every extra star can reduce running costs by around 30%.
  • Embrace the old-fashioned kettle. Water urns are usually left on all day, wasting water and energy in the process.

Major refurbishments

  • Install manual or waterless urinals. Conventional water-flushed urinals are water intensive, using between five litres and 20 litres every flush. In some commercial buildings urinals can account for up to 20 per cent of total water use. A three-stall, automatically flushing urinal may cost up to $3,000 a year to operate. Savings of up to $2,000 may be achieved after conversion to a waterless unit.
  • Install water wise fixtures and fittings. A single flush toilet uses around 12 litres of water per flush. A 4-star water efficient dual flush toilet uses less than half this amount. Switching to 4-star dual flush toilets will save about 25,000 litres of water per toilet each year.
  • Invest in submetering. Ask your building owner to consider implementing a submetering system to measure individual energy and water usage. You'll have an incentive to reduce your water and energy bills, and increase your bottom line.
  • Save every precious drop. Install rainwater tanks, grey or blackwater systems to recycle our precious resources, and include water saving devices in any design of landscaping and water features.