For anyone working in the hospitality industry, whether you work for an asset ownership group, a hotel management chain, or any member of numerous on site teams and departments water plays an important role in your work. But just what an important role is often underestimated. From guest rooms and housekeeping all the way up to the C-Suite at the world’s largest hotel and resort brands, water plays a pivotal role in both the hotel and resort experience as well as the hospitality business model. That role is poised to increase in the next few years.
Let’s take a closer look why.
The largest factor of why hotels and resorts have such a challenge when it comes to efficient water management is that these types of properties have a host of different water demands on a single site. As an example a single resort property might have a restaurant with commercial kitchen and dishwasher, pool and spa, lush landscaped grounds requiring irrigation, on site laundry facilities for housekeeping, a large pump and boiler room, a cooling tower or HVAC unit, not to mention hundreds of guest rooms with showers, toilets, and faucets. This property might have 2-3 separate water accounts from their utility provider, giving them no more than a couple data points on the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water they are using each month. The lack of insight provided in traditional water information, paired with so many water uses presents unprecedented risk in this particular sector. Data driven solutions like Banyan’s Total Water Management help understand where and when water is being used on your property, giving you insights to address the largest water demands on your site.
Another significant factor in the challenge of hospitality water management is that guests tend to use more water when staying at a hotel than when they are at home. And who can truly blame them? They are on vacation or travelling for work and they aren’t paying for the resource directly. Additional factors, like daily housekeeping services providing fresh towels and linens create enormous laundry loads that require large amounts of water use for the hotel owner. Many brands are beginning to tackle this through guest awareness campaigns, asking them to reuse towels for more than a day, but still water use per guest night remains high.
If you manage a portfolio of hotel and resort properties another problem will quickly come to light when performing financial due diligence. Even if every property you manage uses the exact same volume of water (pretty unlikely) you’ll notice that your water costs may still vary drastically. This is because water rates in almost every municipality in the US are billed differently. Some have fees based on how much water you use, some charge a fixed rate for consumption and more or less depending on what size pipe is serving your site, while many are a combination of factors like these. And because many utilities are municipally driven, two identical properties on either side of a town line could have wildly different water costs. We recently took a look at which utilities provide the most expensive water in the US. At Banyan, we’ve incorporated a utility rate engine into every product we offer so that you can easily compare and monitor costs across your entire portfolio in one simple place, allowing you to identify the sites where water management matters most.
With all this water risk, you might be wondering what steps you can take to ensure your property’s water use isn’t out of control?
The first step is to track your water consumption and create a water management plan. This way you can understand your current water use and then set achievable targets for reduction. Banyan Water offers free water usage analysis to help begin this process.
One of the best places to start is your irrigation system. Irrigation is notoriously a high water user on any type of commercial property, and underground pipes are a mecca for undetected water leaks. Ensure your landscaper performs annual or bi annual system inspections, checking for clogged or broken heads, cracked and leaking lines, and effective coverage that isn’t causing significant runoff onto sidewalks and driveways. You should also look into replacing your irrigation controllers. Even if you already have ‘smart’ irrigation controllers, Irrigation Insight® typically reduces outdoor water consumption by 50-70%, while identifying and preventing underground leaks in real time. If you haven’t already, speak to a Banyan representative about Irrigation Insight®.
Another effective tactic is reducing your laundry and kitchen’s water demand. The EPA’s WaterSense program has helpful tips and hints, as well as product information for hundreds of commercially applicable water efficient products. Not only will these products help save money on your water bills, but many utilities offer rebates to help reduce the implementation costs of these solutions.
Educate and empower your staff to participate in water savings goals. Creating in house stakeholders for these projects will have trickle down effects that create lasting impact into your overall water consumption.
Lastly, water sub-metering can play a valuable role in reducing the water use in each of your departments. As we mentioned earlier the variety of water uses on a resort create confusion when looking at a single water bill, but if you can have real time visibility into when each department is using water and how much, you’ll be empowered to find and implement solutions that affect your specific water needs. Banyan’s Indoor Insight® brings data from meters across your property into one, easy to understand dashboard. You can then easily create and download reports comparing usage from across the entire site.