Scaling Up Building Water-Energy Savings

By Brendan FitzSimons
Sep 27, 2013 10:05 AM ET

Increasing droughts and water shortages are causing companies to pay more attention to their water use. Leaders like AT&T understand that proactively engaging in water conservation—including working with suppliers—can help mitigate its risks to water stress.

In 2012, EDF and AT&T launched an effort to identify opportunities to reduce water and energy use in buildings, with a focus on cooling towers. It turns out that many buildings are sitting on big opportunities to reduce water use in their cooling towers — up to 40% — in ways that can also save money. Based on these findings, AT&T is aiming for 150 million gallons in annualized water reductions by the end of 2015.

AT&T also recognizes that it needs to collaborate beyond AT&T to more fully manage its risks to water stress. As AT&T’s VP of Sustainability Beth Shiroishi noted in a recent blog about AT&T inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 4th year in a row: “AT&T can’t go it alone.”  That’s why AT&T and EDF are sharing a free  suite of efficiency tools and resources to help other companies and organizations save water and energy in their building cooling systems. We’re hosting a free webinar on October 2nd to demonstrate the tool kit, including:

  • Measuring and managing water use
  • Optimizing building cooling
  • Building  the business case to realize an ROI on water management

To register for the webinar, click here.

EDF has estimated that improving the efficiency of cooling towers in buildings could save 28 billion gallons of water annually in U.S. buildings—or enough water to fill 400,000,000 bath tubs year after year. AT&T and EDF are sharing the tool kit and helping other companies and organizations unlock their share of the savings. AT&T is also using its influence and resources to leverage water and energy reductions beyond AT&T, including encouraging its suppliers to reduce water use and working with EDF to promote the toolkit in five water-stressed regions.

Ultimately, scaling the savings to buildings across the country will help make sure we continue to have enough water for people and the natural systems that sustain us.