Feature Article - May/June 2004
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Clean Sweep

Patron-pleasing plans for restrooms and locker rooms

By Kelli Anderson

Taking the LEED in Water Conservation

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programs have encouraged communities and their recreation facilities to stand up and take note not only of the benefits that come from using environmentally friendly techniques and designs and energy-saving strategies but also of the cost savings that make those on the accounting side smile ear to ear.

Now that water shortages have also become a growing reality across parts of the nation, water-saving products and ideas have become increasingly necessary and inventive—just check out waterless toilet products, which are gaining use around the country.

Metered showers, as another example, operate for a limited time by a coin or switch and greatly reduce the wasted water allowed to run by careless users or playful children. California State Parks, which installed metered showers, reported a 40-percent reduction in net water usage and a realized savings overall for five years of 70 percent. But patrons benefit too: Lines are shortened, hot water is more plentiful, and when information about the benefits to the environment are posted in these areas, patrons reported increased customer satisfaction and a willingness to pay for the benefits.

According to Water Conservation Services of Santa Barbara, Calif., other water-saving measures that also save on dollars include:

  • Installing water-efficient showerheads with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute (existing showerheads need replacing if they can fill a gallon container in less than 20 seconds).

  • Installing aerators on faucets to reduce indoor water use by as much as 4 percent.

  • Replacing older toilets (installed prior to 1994) with a new ultra-low-flow variety.

  • Checking toilets periodically for leaks and repairing them promptly.

  • Reducing water used in an older toilet by placing two one-quart bottles of water in the tank to displace toilet flows.

For more information on
water conservation facts and ideas: