Property managers at buildings where water bills are included with rent are footing the bill for both the heating and the sourcing of water. According to our research, about 65% of the water used by Americans is heated, which basically makes for double spending on over two-thirds of the water.
The vast majority of hot water usage takes place in the shower. One of the best ways to conserve water, thereby enabling you to save on the costs involved with supplying it, is to decrease the gallons of water used per shower.
There are several advantages to doing this. You’ll improve your property’s brand reputation as an ecologically-minded outfit, help the environment, and, of course, save on the significant costs of your utility bills.
How Much Water Does a Shower Use?
Consider, if you will, the relevant calculations.
Water utility bills are on the rise across the US. In New York City alone, the price per gallon has risen by nearly 200% in the past 15 years. Overall, the average American family uses about 40 gallons of water during their daily showers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although these numbers have improved over the years thanks to federal mandates and the wider availability of low-flow shower heads, there is still room for improvement. Lengthy shower times and flow rates of 2.5 gallons per minute or more continue to cost landlords significant sums of cash every year..
What happens if your tenants are taking 12-minute showers, which are hardly rare — especially when they aren’t expected to pay for their excesses. What happens if a tenant tampers with a shower head so that it flows at 5.5 gallons per minute or more? Now you’re approaching 60 gallons of water per shower.
Even if you average somewhere between the two as a reasonable expenditure of water, how many tenants are showering each day? How many gallons of wasted water are you paying for every year?
Keep in mind that the federal government now requires water flow for showers to be no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. When water flow is regulated and limited, the potential expenditure of water is reduced significantly. The problem is that just because laws have been enacted does not mean they can be applied to every shower head in New York.
Hot Water = More Money?
Even with the 2.5 gallons per minute law, many shower heads in the United States are still not up to this standard.. And Americans are taking longer showers than necessary, creating additional waste. Almost all of that excess water is hot water, which takes energy to heat. If your showers are wasting 1.5-2 gallons per minute in hot water, how much money are you really losing?
Options for Landlords
These days, the average US shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute and lasts for 8 minutes. While that measure is in keeping with current federal standards, it still accounts for far more water usage than is good for the environment or your property’s budget.
You can turn to any number of tactics for conserving water, but almost all of them are ultimately out of your hands, unfortunately. For example, you can educate and encourage your tenants to take shorter showers, but most of these education efforts yield little results.
As you may have surmised from the numbers above, if every single shower were even one minute shorter, you’d be conserving water in a substantive way, and you’d see those savings in your bank account. The problem is that in places like New York City, landlords cannot charge their tenants for the water they consume, so they have little personal incentive to shorten their showers.
You are likely to do better if every shower on your property is equipped with a low-flow regulation device, reducing the water flow per minute. If your building is on the older side, the construction needs alone can preclude any investment in lavish water-saving technologies. Flow regulators may be your best and last resort.
What’s more, studies show that when superior low-flow devices are used, water flow has had no impact on the duration of an average American shower — nor on the perception of shower quality. Instead, it has a real impact on the amount of water used in the shower, which is why it is an excellent way to keep your costs down.
While the law mandates new shower heads have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, you can find shower heads with even lower flow rates — 0.75 gallons per minute, 1 gallon per minute, 1.5 gallons per minute, 1.75 gallons per minute, and 2 gallons per minute — although doing so may require a little more effort than the basic regulation shower head does.
The Problem With Low-Flow Shower Fixtures
There are a lot of cheap-end low-flow fixtures that can cut down on water flow. Unfortunately, tenants rarely like them, and many times destroy them or remove them as soon as they can. Regardless of how much the packaging says it saves, when the fixture is in the garbage, it's not that effective. Whichever fixtures or regulators you use, they should be tamper-proof, so the tenants can't see them, disable them, remove them, or break them.
The Water Scrooge, for instance, is the only product that sits fits behind the shower wall so the tenant doesn't even know it's there. This makes it fully tamper-proof. It typically regulates the shower flow to 1.75 gallons per minute, which feels great when coupled with a Water Scrooge spa shower head. Because the actual device is out of sight and inaccessible to tenants, the investment in the product is protected and the long-term water savings are safe, as well.
Make Sure You Have Enough Liquid
The average American residence consumes more than 300 gallons of water per day, which translates to nearly 110,000 gallons per year. When you factor in all of your tenant families, that’s a lot of water and a lot of cash to cover it.
Thankfully, there are viable tactics for reducing water consumption in ways that will have a real impact on your bottom line, especially when you consider the scale involved with multi-tenant properties. It’s easy to figure out how much you can save given the specifics of your property and the configuration of your tenant units.
You can even use this savings calculator to determine how far you’d come out ahead by installing The Water Scrooge in your building.