Water and Energy for Homes and Businesses

Water & Energy

Saving water in Buildings
By Andrew Tucker

Homes:  Did you know that much of your water use at home contributes to your energy bill?  Each person in the UK uses on average, about 150 litres each day. But about 23% of a household's heating bill is from heating the water - when you shower, run hot water from the tap, and use your kettle, washing machine and dishwasher. This is on average about £160 per year.

Saving water can reduce your water bill (if you’re on a water meter), reduce your energy use and bills, reduce the impact on your local environment, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by using less energy to pump, heat and treat the water.

When we use water, we are often using energy – mostly to heat the water. Generating energy produces carbon dioxide emissions - and carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases which causes climate change. Heating water for use in our homes makes up about 4% of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

No one likes to waste water. However, only about 8% of people realise their water usage contributes to their energy bills. Simple water use changes can save you money -  find out now using the Energy Saving Trust’s Water Energy Calculator  

Business:  The link between water use and energy bills / carbon emissions continues once we’re at work.  Commercial buildings vary greatly in type of business and water use requirement, ranging from offices to restaurants, and small businesses to large hotels.  The main driver for water efficiency in private and public non-domestic buildings will be cost savings (through reduced water and energy bills) and various corporate social and environmental responsibility drivers.

Businesses are eligible for tax reductions when purchasing water-efficient technologies through the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme which enables businesses to claim 100% first year capital allowances on investments in technologies and products that encourage sustainable water use. Visit ECA website 

Water efficiency savings can be achieved through installing water efficient devices/appliances, and educating facilities managers and staff on how to use water more efficiency whist at work. Envirowise (now WRAP) estimates that developing and implementing a good Water Management Plan could reduce water and effluent costs by up to 30%.  A number of guidance and case study documents are available. 

WRAP provides simple guidance on water efficiency procurement for non-domestic building, outlining device specifications  for both new and existing building audiences - Asking for water-efficient buildings through good procurement practice.

See our Subject Champions page for Andrew Tucker's biography