NATIONAL REPORT—Down the drain is not where most hotel owners and operators like to see their profits go. With a very inexpensive investment in faucet aerators, that does not need to happen. A simple aerator costing less than a dollar in a bathroom or kitchen faucet can reduce water flow significantly and still provide the needed pressure to keep hands or dishes clean.
Oftentimes, aerators are not even thought of because manufacturers today include them in their faucets. An aerator is typically a metal piece that screws onto the end of the fixture. It allows the water to flow at a particular gallon per minute (gpm) rate.
“Today, when you buy faucets, they must flow at no more than 2.5 gpm,” says Phil DiBetta, account executive with AM Conservation Group Inc., Hackettstown, N.J.
“There are different types of aerators to create a different kind of flow,” adds Paul Young, sales consultant with Cedar Knolls, N.J.-based Niagara Conservation.
A laminar type of flow is needle-like, whereas an aerated flow is softer and actually mixes air with the water.
“With aerated flow, it feels like you are getting more water than you really are,” DiBetta says.
Older faucets or those with broken or missing aerators can allow from 5 gallons to 7 gallons a minute to flow. Aerators today come with different restrictors and reduce flow as low as .5 gpm. Faucets with standard 2.2 gpm or 2.5 gpm aerators can be easily retrofit with more efficient ones. Aerators are available with metal or plastic screens and feature single or dual threads to fit male and/or female threaded faucets. Costs vary depending on style and use.
“When you use aerators, you not only save water but also the energy required to heat that water,” Young says.
Matt Voorhes, distribution sales manager for Niagara Conservation, say the types of hotels he has seen implement the most water conservation measures are extended-stay properties.
“They are doing so because their intent is to create a value they can share with the end user—the customer,” Voorhes says.
To measure the water flow rate of a faucet, one can use a container and a simple timing device, or purchase a product such as a displacement measurement bag which costs less than a dollar. The U.S. Department of Energy has an online calculator that allows one to determine the amount of water and energy one can save with a water-saving faucet. Click here to access that calculator.
When aerators are implemented throughout a hotel, the savings can be huge. Be sure to ask your local water utility company representative if commercial rebate incentives are available.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.