Americans use about 410 billion gallons of water per day — or more than the daily flow of the entire Mississippi River — according to the U.S. Geological Survey. To help generate awareness for water consumption issues in recognition of Earth Day, KBM identified five tips for building owners and managers to reduce the amount of water used in their buildings.

"Americans often take access to fresh water for granted, but it’s something that may not always be readily available to us," said Rene Tuchscher, chief operating officer, KBM Facility Solutions. "A building maintenance process like cleaning can consume a tremendous amount of water if not effectively managed.  There are a few easy steps facility managers can take to substantially reduce water consumption and improve the overall sustainability of their building operations."

Tips for reducing water use include:

1. Reduce your chemical profile. Some cleaning operations use as many as 25 different cleaning chemicals to clean a building – many of which end up sitting on the shelf. By reducing this number, less water is used for chemical dilution requirements.

2. Implement microfiber. Microfiber mops eliminate approximately 96 percent of bacteria from a surface with 20 times less water than traditional cotton mops.  For example, the University of Texas saved more than 600,000 gallons of water in one year — enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool — converting to a microfiber system in conjunction with a small, two-sided mop bucket.

3. Stop the leaks. While it may not seem like a lot, droplets of water from leaky faucets can add up. For example, a building with 25 faucets dripping water at a rate of one drip per minute will waste approximately two gallons of water a day and 867 gallons a year. Regularly remind cleaning and maintenance staff to tighten faucets to reduce water waste.

4. Evaluate your carpet maintenance program. Restore your carpet with a high-flow extraction system and maintain the carpet with liquid soil encapsulation methods. Doing so can substantially reduce the amount water used in the carpet cleaning process with the same result and can reduce typical carpet cleaning costs by 60 percent.  

5. Implement an ongoing cleaning and preventative maintenance program. A consistent and ongoing cleaning program helps maintain the cleanliness of hard surfaces and reduces frequency of substantial deep cleanings which require extra water use.

"Some analysts predict that water will overtake oil as our scarcest natural resource in the world," added Tuchscher. "By taking action now, facility managers and building owners can do their part to reduce consumption and ensure fresh water is available for future generations."