Every day, thousands of gallons of perfectly reusable water are literally washed down the drain. Traditionally, clean filtered water is used everywhere in a commercial building, even when potable water is unnecessary. Greywater, or safe wastewater, can be filtered and reused in various applications in commercial buildings to not only help reduce energy costs, but protect the environment.
What is Greywater?
Simply speaking, greywater is water that has already been used, but can be filtered and recycled for a secondary use. Greywater typically comes from a shower, washing machine, or bathroom sink. Although plentiful in residential settings, commercial buildings have thousands of gallons a day that come from these sources. Consider an apartment complex with multiple bathrooms, or perhaps a government facility or hospital building. Even a typical office complex with sinks in every bathroom has plenty of greywater sources that can be drawn upon.
Is it Safe?
A key differentiator is to determine if the water is truly greywater, or what is known as black water. The biggest difference is that black water has come in contact with urine or fecal matter first, rendering it unsafe for future use. Often, kitchen water, or water used in the dishwasher, is also unacceptable because decomposed food can carry dangerous bacteria. Although the used wastewater goes through a filtration process before it is reused, fecal and food matter are too risky to use because of the dangerous pathogens and potential to cause disease. Comparatively, greywater is perfectly safe to reuse in select applications.
How Can it be Used in Commercial Buildings?
While a typical application for greywater may include capturing a residential home's water to be used later in the garden, greywater principles can be used in even the largest commercial settings. The most common use for greywater is to flush toilets. Greywater is collected, filtered, and recycled in commercial bathrooms. Another common use is to collect greywater and use it to irrigate the surrounding landscaping. Further, greywater can be reused in the building's cooling systems. Using greywater for other purposes throughout a commercial building can reduce the draw on city water by nearly 75%. Many existing buildings, such as the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences - Mercy Housing and the Quayside Village greywater Demonstration Project are seeing remarkable success and energy reductions by employing greywater reuse technology.
What Are the Benefits of Using Greywater?
Environmentally speaking, using greywater is a great way to reduce the demand for fresh, city water. This is an eco-friendly solution to recycle already used water throughout the building. Further, greywater can help save money and reduce energy costs. Buildings that utilize a commercial greywater system regularly see a reduction of between 30-70% on their monthly water bill. Not only is less energy used to pump the water throughout the building, but energy bills are also reduced when greywater is used to help cool the building.
At Gauman & Moore we are passionate about the environment and want to do everything we can to help preserve and restore our natural resources. Using environmentally friendly practices, like recycling greywater, is a great way to not only help the environment but reduce costs. To learn more about our environmentally sound initiatives, contact us today. You can view our portfolio and see the sustainable projects we have been a part of.