|Image credit: Randall Benton, Sacramento Bee|
Like most businesses and households, BOMA San Francisco members are acutely aware of California's declared drought and are looking at ways to further conserve water during this unprecedented dry winter. Indeed, BOMA members have been at the forefront of energy and water conservation for some time though our Energy and Environment Committee and the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance.
BOMA San Francisco's Energy and Environment Committee (E&E)
BOMA's E&E Committee is one of the organization's most active member groups focused specifically on energy and environmental sustainability in commercial high-rise buildings. At the committee's most recent meeting, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) representatives presented on water-saving tips for commercial properties:
- Determine how and where your water is used on site. If you need assistance, the SFPUC provides free Water-Wise Evaluations.
- Assign a conservation champion to develop and monitor water conservation efforts.
- Educate tenants and visitors about water conservation practices; put up signs encouraging water conservation in kitchens, restrooms, locker rooms, and other public areas.
- Inform vendors that water efficiency is a priority (cooling tower maintenance, landscape, laundry and dishwasher)
- Install water-efficient fixtures and plumbing devices, such as high efficiency toilets and urinals, faucet aerators, and pre-rinse spray valves. The SFPUC provides fixture rebates and free devices (details below).
- Identify water conservation opportunities specific to your facility or business and prioritize no or low cost options.
- Use a broom, pressure washer, or hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle to clean sidewalks, driveways and pavement.
- Conduct preventative maintenance to ensure water-using fixtures are working properly.
- Assess your irrigation system to identify inefficiencies such as leaks, broken sprinkler heads and run off.
- Track water consumption through meter reads or monthly water bills to measure water savings achievements and monitor for leaks.
Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance (2009)
Our members are fortunate to have had the foresight to work with the City and County of San Francisco on the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance that applies to any commercial property owner. The law requires that a building owner repair plumbing leaks and install water efficient plumbing fixtures to obtain a Certificate of Compliance either upon major improvements or by January 1, 2017.
Inefficient plumbing fixtures manufactured and installed prior to 1994 must be replaced with efficient fixtures. The SFPUC offers financial incentives and technical assistance for the replacement of inefficient plumbing fixtures. The Ordinance established the following water efficiency guidelines for commercial properties:
- All showerheads have a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute (fpm);
- All showers have no more than one showerhead per valve;
- All faucets and faucet aerators have a maximum flow rate of 2.2 fpm
- All water closets (toilets) have a maximum rated water consumption of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or the flush volume set by updates to the San Francisco Plumbing Code. Effective July 1, 2011, new toilet fixture installations may not exceed 1.28 gallons per flush, the maximum rated water consumption established in the San Francisco Plumbing Code, Chapter 4, Section 402.2;
- All urinals have a maximum flow rate of 1.0 gpf. Note: To achieve compliance with the Ordinance, new urinal fixture installations shall not exceed 0.5 gpf, the maximum rated water consumption established in the San Francisco Plumbing Code, Chapter 4, Section 402.3;
- All water leaks have been repaired.