While most businesses know how much they spend on electricity and gas, they often aren’t as aware when it comes to water rates. This is partly because water is a cheaper commodity, and so represents a smaller proportion of overheads. But water bills can also be unclear in showing what charges relate to what.
Business water audits can help to address this problem. A business water audit can help businesses explore opportunities to improve water efficiency.
Business water audits have a lot in common with energy audits. They are a formal way to assess how, when and why you are using a utility, and consider ways you can make savings. Simple, structured commercial water audits can help businesses reduce their wastewater and therefore save money on their water bills.
Most companies don’t need an expert to tell them that leaving the tap running is a waste of money and inefficient. Nevertheless, many businesses waste thousands of pounds on water each year. The support of a professional can mean long-lasting savings and increased profit.
At Love Energy Savings, we are committed to helping UK companies reduce their utility bills. Our guide on business water audits explores how you can take advantage of this process and start saving.
What is a Business Water Audit?
A business water audit is a technique to help your company to identify ways to improve water efficiency and save money on your water bill. The process covers infrastructure, water use, supply and drainage.
An audit involves spending time considering when, where and how you use water and establishing how much it is currently costing your company. Auditors will also assess your water bills to check for discrepancies, such as duplicate invoices and overcharging. From there the auditor will set targets to reduce water usage and waste to lower your costs. For most businesses, wastewater is one critical component, as well as management of your supply and drainage.
You can complete a simple water audit yourself, but professional guidance is useful. Simple and comprehensive audit services are available. They can add value, as the assessors will dig down into your water usage to suggest ways to increase water efficiency.
A breakdown of business water audits types
Simple water saving
This is a basic assessment. Water audit firms will usually agree to perform a light touch audit. The aim will be to determine if your business processes and day-to-day activities use more water than is necessary.
By setting aside some time, you and your team can conduct this process independently. To do so, you would need to methodically go through your water usage. If you have a water meter, you can use that and refer to recent bills to gauge your water costs during specific periods.
A comprehensive audit
A comprehensive audit is usually carried out by a water auditor. Comprehensive audits are usually requested by companies that are heavy water users. Businesses in the industrial or manufacturing sectors may prioritise an external audit.
To complete an audit, an assessor will visit your premises to conduct a site survey. This examines how you buy water and analyses your business in detail. Everything from water consumption, water bills and charges will be assessed.
A commercial water auditor will make suggestions about how you can lower your water consumption. They will also advise you if you are eligible for refunds or could be on a cheaper business water rate.
A professional comprehensive audit will mean you receive a report detailing the findings. It will include suggestions on how your business can become more water-efficient. The auditors will estimate the savings that you can generate from each recommendation.
Many auditors will benchmark your company against other similar organisations. This will give you a sense of how you compare to competitors. You can use this data to make improvements to your company.
Do I need to do an audit?
There is no legal requirement to conduct a water audit. However, it can be very useful.
You should ask yourself a few questions to determine if you should conduct a commercial water audit. The first is whether you want to prioritise reducing your water bill. For many businesses, this is the most important consideration.
Another factor is your business’s impact on the planet. Climate change is reducing the amount of freshwater available around the world. Water is a precious resource and we all need to do our part to ensure that fresh, clean water is not wasted.
Many consumers are concerned with the environmental impact of their spending. A business water audit could improve your green credentials and be useful for your corporate social responsibility agenda.
Finally, a business water audit can help future-proof your water usage. Business water auditing experts can advise you on technical elements, such as meter sizing. They can also help you with the financial aspect. They can signpost you to ways to decrease your overall bill. This might include taking advantage of government grants, switching to a new supplier or avoiding industry-wide price increases.
What are the Advantages of a Business Water Audit
An audit can often be a good prompt to start taking water efficiency seriously. Often, they reveal opportunities, such as adding water-saving devices to your appliances.
These appliances may include cistern displacement devices for toilets or aerator or flow restrictors to taps and showers. Some water providers offer water-saving devices free of charge.
The amount of water they save in each use is small, but if you run a large office, a hotel or residential space with many employees or clients it can generate considerable savings.
A comprehensive water audit is not free. You will need to hire a professional service, with trained engineers who will come on-site. This can be expensive. However, the information you gain will enable you to reduce your company expenses over many years.
You may find you are eligible for discounts on your current bills. Professional audits can also make concrete suggestions. Auditors will consider your water needs and the quality of the water you require for specific functions.
For example, if you have grounds and are using mains water to care for green spaces, an auditor may suggest you invest in rain butts. You can then use rainwater to keep your plants green. When properly treated, even freshwater can be reused for tasks such as flushing toilets.
How to Conduct a Water Audit
Conducting a business water audit is not a quick or cheap solution to reducing your business water charges. However, in the long run, it can save you significant amounts of money.
A full audit requires an industry professional to examine your business. Sometimes, you can arrange this through your current water supplier. Mainly you will need to find an auditor and arrange for them to carry out the audit. Some auditors base their prices on a proportion of the savings they identify.
Whether you have had a business water audit already, or are still considering whether you need one, if you have not taken steps to improve your water efficiency you are likely to be paying too much for water.
An auditor can help you reduce your bills in several ways. Often the easiest and quickest way to start saving money is to switch provider.
Businesses can switch between water providers with ease with Love Energy Savings’ easy comparison tool. At Love Energy Savings, we help you choose a better deal by letting you see the options available to you in one place.
To find out how much you could save today, compare water prices with Love Energy Savings.