Thames Water Clearwater Court – Bathroom fittings replacement

Thames Water’s pilot project to replace bathroom fittings delivered an 83% reduction in water consumption – and in the process picked up the ICE Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management

Thames Water fitted new water efficient devices, such as the Propelair tap which reduced consumption by 59%.
Thames Water fitted new water efficient devices, such as the Propelair tap which reduced consumption by 59%.

To demonstrate that significant water efficiency savings can be made in existing commercial buildings, Thames Water ran a pilot project to replace water using fittings in two bathrooms inside their main office – Clearwater Court in Reading.

The result was an 83% reduction in water consumption. Thames Water is now installing these water saving devices in all their office buildings.

The project, led by Andrew Tucker, Water Efficiency & Affordability Manager, won ICE's Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management 2016.

Project Details

Location: Thames Water head office - Clearwater Court, Reading

Value: <£10K

Date of completion: February 2016

Duration: 6 months/ongoing

Client: Thames Water

Contractor: Thames Water & Emcor

Project manager: Andrew Tucker – Water Efficiency & Affordability Manager, Thames Water

Challenge summary: Demonstrate and quantify water use reduction potential in commercial buildings, without the need for alternative water supplies

Challenge solution: Install industry leading water use devices and monitor before and after water consumption

Project Details

Although the existing fittings were reasonably efficient to start with, the aim of the project was to establish how much water consumption could be reduced while maintaining a pleasant bathroom experience for staff and visiting stakeholders.

The original fittings were:

  • Standard dual-flush toilets (average measured consumption of 5.6l per flush)
  • Percussion taps (average flow of 4-6l per minute. Average duration of 10-14s)
  • Urinal sensors (Nine-litre cistern, four flushes per hour, seven days a week)

These were replaced with the following new water efficient fittings:

  • Propelair toilets (1.5l per flush)
  • Cistermiser sensor taps (average flow of 3.5l per minute. Average duration of 25s per use)
  • Cistermiser urinal sensors (0.5l per flush, six flushes per hour, seven days a week)
The Propelair toilets reduced water use by 81%
The Propelair toilets reduced water use by 81%

The project represented a successful collaboration and partnership arrangement between Thames Water, facilities management group EMCOR, and technology providers Propelair and Cistermiser.

Outcomes

With the new fittings in place, the project achieved a combined water reduction of 83%.

Through Thames Water's internal communications strategy, and an innate curiosity, bathroom usage itself significantly increased after the new devices were installed. The men's bathroom increased from 695 users per week to 1,128. All water use and savings results were then normalised to match the baseline pre-refurbishment footfall.

The two refurbished bathrooms are now saving more than 11,500 litres every week, equating to over 0.5Ml each year – enough to supply 1,250 homes. Even just rolling out the new devices to all bathrooms at the Clearwater Court site would save a projected 4.1 million litres each year.

Full results:

Savings p/week (7 days) Men's (litres) Women's (l) Total (l)
Propelair WC (x2 each bathroom) 2,445 4,384 6,829
Cistermiser Sensor Taps 1,000 1,067 2,067
Cistermiser Urinal Sensors 2,650 - 2,650
Total 6,095 5,451 11,546
 
Water use per device per week.
Water use per device per week.

Follow up

Following the pilot, the project team developed a simple case study document highlighting what might be the easiest and most successful water efficiency win for an existing office building.

This case study is now being promoted to many thousands of business organisations and sites throughout London and the Thames Valley.

Project Conclusions

  • The new bathroom fittings have reduced water use by around 83%, from pre-existing fittings which were already reasonably efficient
  • Influenced and changed attitudes of both staff and facilities managers, who were originally sceptical. Staff and managers now accept and are proud of the project
  • Results have driven a decision to refurbish bathrooms in other Thames Water offices in Reading and Swindon (>20 bathrooms). Initial total building savings are in the order of 40%
  • Results have been a catalyst to commence similar refurbishment trials in the Lyceum Theatre, Oracle Shopping Centre and the Madejski Stadium
  • Production of a one-page case study which Thames Water is promoting to key business customers – approx. 1000 large businesses
  • Presentation of results to the annual Future Water Conference, and the annual Sustainable Water Industry Group (SWIG) conference – both attended by water companies, industry organisations and academics.
  • Winner of ICE's Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management

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