Conserving water while preparing food

Debatably one of the most water-intensive aspects of modern human life is that of food. Food takes massive amounts of water to produce; and even more to prepare for consumption. While the production of food is very water intensive, I am going to focus on the preparation (cooking) of food today.
Three of the most common categories of food preparation are cooking appliances, refrigeration systems, and sanitation systems. Cooking appliances are those used to cook food-such as steamers or other appliances. Refrigeration systems include freezers and refrigerators that use water to function, mainly ice machines. Lastly, sanitation systems are those used to clean cooking items as well as hand washing.
Cooking Appliances:
Steamers use immense amounts of water because of their functioning principles: they heat water until it turns into steam, and then harnesses the steam to cook foods. There are two types of steamers: “standard” steamers with large boilers to convert water into steam as well as connectionless steamers which use very little water to cook the same amount of food. Connectionless steamers are much more efficient that standard steamers because they are not connected to a water supply line. These connectionless food steamers require a portion of water to be added to a small tank before use, and then the unit effectively uses less water to create steam, and cook the same portions of food. These units are also more convenient because they can be moved anywhere-even if there is no plumbed water line.
Chinese ranges or Woks use water to cool the stove unit. As a result of the high heat output, these units must be cooled to prevent damage to themselves. Some units use water at rates as high as 5 to 6 gallons per minute. These units should be replaced with efficient models, or other technologies to significantly reduce the amount of water used.
Refrigeration systems:
The two most common types of refrigeration systems are water-cooled and air-cooled ice machines. Both units are available in energy-efficient models, but only air-cooled ice machines are water efficient. Water-cooled ice machines use water to transport heat away from the refrigeration unit’s inner components used to freeze water into ice; whereas air-cooled ice machines simply use air to complete the same task. Some water-cooled ice machines use as much as 100,000 gallons of water per year more than their air-cooled equivalents.
Sanitation systems:
Two most common sanitation systems are pre-rinse spray valves, and dishwashing units. Pre-rinse spray valves are small units attached to faucets or hoses that clean large particles off of plats and other kitchen components. Dishwashing units are those that automatically sanitize kitchen components such as plates and utensils. These both are available in “standard” and efficient models, but the most crucial thing to consider when sanitizing kitchenware is that you only use units when they are full. For example, it is extremely wasteful to wash one dish at a time. Instead, wait until you can fill the dishwasher with utensils and plates before running the unit.
For more information on water conservation technology, visit
Brian O’Neill

Water conservation in your landscape

One of the most wasteful areas of water use is irrigation. When irrigation systems malfunction or work improperly, the solution typically is to irrigate for longer durations. Irrigating landscapes for longer durations typically appears to fix the problem, but it is merely a way of masking the real problem: wasted water.
Irrigation systems are designed to provide water based upon plant water needs and the microclimates around them. This is done by creating a hydrozone, or an area of plants with similar water needs. For example; this is done by using irrigation stations for trees, separate stations for planters, and other stations for high water use flowers. By doing this, landscapers can prevent low water use plants from being over-watered.
In order to reduce wastewater in your landscape, it is recommended that you observe your irrigation system while it is running. Here are some of the most common irrigation problems:
Broken sprinkler heads: Broken sprinkler heads are most easily discovered when geysers of water spout up in the landscape. Some broken sprinkler heads are broken at the base, so they are not as dramatic. These broken sprinkler heads cause puddles of water around the sprinkler heads.
Broken pipes: Since nearly all irrigation pipes are run underground, they can be very difficult to detect when broken. However, broken pipes often create large areas of mud or moist dirt. This is caused by water leaking out of the pipe and seeping upwards to the surface.
High pressure: Some irrigation systems function with high pressure. This creates inefficiencies because the high pressure creates smaller droplets to be emitted from sprinkler heads. This is a problem because smaller droplets of water evaporate much more quickly than “normal” droplets. The easiest way to determine if your pressure is too high is by seeing mist blowing while the irrigation system is on.
For more water conservation tips, visit
Brian O’Neill

Saving Water Saves Money

Congratulations to David Isaacson, a business development coordinator for WaterWise Consulting, Inc. A recently published author, David’s article “Water Efficiency Audits Can Lead to Environmental, Financial Rewards” provides and in-depth analysis of the benefits of water-use audits, and how they help save both water and money. Published in Green Lodging News, David’s article provides a much needed look into the water conservation industry and more importantly: what you can do.
First of all, why should we save water?
As you likely know, there is a fixed amount of water on Earth. Only about 2%of the Earth’s water is fresh water, and a significant portion of that water is locked up in glaciers and icecaps. Since the amount of fresh water is fixed, increasing populations deplete fresh water sources before they can recharge themselves. This leads to increasing probabilities of drought as well as more dire circumstances when droughts occur.
Why should I be interested?
Although different agencies offer water audits, the main components of water audits are comprised of: an inventory of fixtures, flow rates, and a feasibility of the costs, rebates, and incentives of each fixture-including payback times. Each recommendation typically has information such as flow rates, efficient retrofits, available rebates, and the payback time.
Where can I get a water audit?
Some local water agencies or water purveyors offer water audits. Other companies that may offer water audits are engineering firms, environmental consulting companies, or LEED certification organizations.
What are the results?
On average of 15 sites, there was an average of 42% reduced water usage. Of the total water usage, there is a range from 24 to 83%-this translates to a financial savings from $4,400 to $300,000 annually. The payback ranges from under three months to 1.7 years per recommendation.
To read Davis Isaacson’s original article, visit .
Brian O’Neill