Michael Gell, Ph.D., managing director of
Xanfeon Energy and Environmental Services, a
consultancy in Suffolk, England.
Armed with that information, project managers
can develop an action plan to prioritize short-,
medium- and long-term efforts. “This should
include proposals with timescales and ROI analysis
detailing how the business water footprint will be
reduced,” he says.
Dr. Gell suggests beginning with smaller
projects—such as fixing leaks—that require little
capital investment and are easy to implement.
“Use these projects as a learning process, and a
way to encourage input within the company from
green-minded employees who are enthusiastic and
knowledgeable about environmental issues, but
whose knowledge is not currently being utilized,”
Broader-scale efforts, such as installing systems
to recycle and treat water for reuse, will have a
bigger impact, but they also have a much longer
ROI and require serious commitment and powerful champions, adds Mr. Groseclose.
Right now, the high price tag on the more
sophisticated water-management megaprojects
deters most companies from considering them, he
says, “but as the cost of water goes up, they may
projects launched by
17 states in India
As with any project, companies also need to
measure and track their results.
“You can use the data to benchmark yourself
against other companies and see how well you are
doing,” says Dr. Gell.
The Center for Sustainable Innovation recently
released its Corporate Water Gauge, which lets
organizations measure and report facility-based
levels of water use against local precipitation and
population data. The new tool aims to “make
triple bottom-line measurement and reporting a
reality,” says Mark McElroy, Ph.D., executive
director of the Thetford Center,
Vermont, USA-based group.
Companies are still primarily
focused on the price tag of water-management projects, of course,
but Mr. Groseclose sees a change
“The sustainable design and construction movement is creating a
paradigm shift in the way design,
construction and building owners
look at project delivery, and the
maintenance and operation of buildings,” he says. “Rather than look solely
at project first costs, life cycle costs
are being considered as project drivers.
Our clients may not see an ROI in
three to five years, but there is a long-term payoff in their bottom line, the
health and safety of their employees,
and the environment.”
Rainwater harvesting is a concept that is
seeing more acceptance with our clients.
—David Groseclose, IDC Architects, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA