- Hot water is essential for comfort, but the energy costs for water heating are significant.
- Reduce hot water demand with low-cost operational and maintenance measures.
- Replace older hot water units with ENERGY STAR models that are more energy efficient.
Hot water is essential for comfort, but water heating costs can drain energy budgets in a hurry. So, what can be done to stem the flow of wasted energy? Start by reducing hot water demand through low-cost conservation measures. Next, consider upgrading to high-efficiency water heating equipment.
More than just a drop in the bucket
Reduce hot water demand and increase equipment efficiency with these low-cost maintenance and operational measures:
- Reduce the hot water temperature to 120°F for safe cleaning and laundering.
- Encourage tenants to operate clothes washers and dishwashers only when they are fully loaded.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets to reduce the amount of hot water used for showers and hand-washing.
- Repair leaks. Dripping faucets and leaks in water-using equipment wastes gallons of water per day, along with the energy that is consumed heating that water.
- To reduce heat loss, insulate all accessible hot water pipes starting at the water heater.
Upgrade and save
When water heaters on your properties are a least 10 years old, or in need of repair, consider upgrading to one of these energy-efficient technologies:
- Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. These systems pull heat from the surrounding air and dump it into a tank to heat the water. Heat pumps are two to three times more efficient than conventional units. Commercial kitchens and laundry areas are good applications for this technology.
- Tankless water heaters eliminate the standby losses of traditional tank units by heating water on demand. They are typically at the point of use and are most effective in areas with varying usage, such as breakrooms or employee restrooms.
- Solar water heaters capture renewable energy from the sun. These systems have improved significantly in recent years and make economic sense in a number of commercial settings. They are available in a variety of configurations that are suitable for different climate zones and applications. While solar water heaters can generally meet summer demand, a supplemental water heater may be required in winter.
- Heat recovery water heaters capture waste heat from cooling and refrigeration systems, or processing equipment, to heat or preheat water. Heat recovery is most effective in facilities with high hot water demand, such as hotels and restaurants. Waste heat temperatures must be high enough to serve as a useful heat source.
When selecting water-heating equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certified water-heating equipment uses less energy than standard models.
Image source: iStock