Make water create waves to power your pathway to net zero

With the Big Zero Show this year, Green Apple Environment award winner Water Plus outlines how water can help power organisations towards their environment goals

Net Hero Podcast

Reducing resource use and improving efficiency are key steps organisations will need to take to retain credibility on green steps they’re taking on their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, to help lower impacts on the environment. 

Although water is under Scope 3 on your emissions, it shouldn’t be looked at last as it can help lower energy costs too. Getting more data on where water is used is an important first step.

Mark Taylor, Advanced Services Operations Manager in England for Water Plus, the UK’s largest water retailer, said: “With energy costs in the news, there are some areas where there are low-cost opportunities and options for organisations, particularly if the number of people at sites is fluctuating through a year. This is why tracking what water is used throughout a year is important.

“As there are carbon emissions linked to the water you get through taps, and the wastewater taken away and treated, it also shows that by just boiling the water you need in work kitchen kettles – to reducing water waste from any leaks, including dripping taps, running toilets from cisterns – and elsewhere at your site – soon adds up to lowering running costs, creating less carbon overall and using less energy too.”

Why water’s a whizz at helping lower Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions

Mark Taylor said: “If water is heated with gas at you site, then Scope 1 emissions can be reduced by saving on the amount of water being heated. Hot water heated by electric heaters, would be under Scope 2 emissions, along with the amount of energy purchased overall. Water pumped around by electric pumps is also under Scope 2 emissions.

“Taking into account the cost of gas, the cost of hot water could now be over 4 times more than the cost of cold water from April 2022 – so water efficient taps, showerheads and other measures can all help there, reducing flow rates so overall water use should come down.”

There are carbon emissions linked to the wastewater from your site which is taken away and treated once you’ve used it – and carbon emissions linked to the water that you get through your taps – so reducing either of these – and any waste – helps you towards Net Zero and beyond.

Here’s where water-saving can make an impact

Being wiser with your organisation’s water doesn’t need to be complicated.

Checking your pipes and your site, or sites, regularly, including noting monthly meter readings, if it’s safe to access, will mean you can react quickly to leaks and issues – not only cutting water waste but also limiting increases in additional costs. A leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – that’s equal to 5 full bath-tubs.

Water Plus installed more than 400 data loggers on water meters in the space of six months in 2021 – providing further information on how it’s used across buildings. These feed information into a smart online portal.

  • A manufacturing facility had a leak on one of their main site pipes, which had a fracture and was losing 21 cubic metres of water an hour – that’s 21,000 litres an hour. If this had not been identified, and quick action taken to organise a repair in December 2021, it would have cost around £10,000 a week – and £41,000 if it was running for a month. After contacting Water Plus, the Advanced Services team quickly pinpointed the leak’s location and made the repair.
  • A distribution centre was alerted to a leak that saw 10 cubic metres of water an hour seeping away underground – with a cost around £690 a day.

The Big Zero Show takes place on 21 June in Coventry – get involved – and hear more ways to make progress around Net Zero and lowering impacts on the planet – at: https://bigzeroshow.com/