Eco Cistem’s Technical Director, David Davis, talks to Green Hotelier and explains how hotels can make every drop count when saving water.

Talking Point: Are you sending your water straight down the drain?

Hotels by their very nature have to consume a lot of water in order to function.

When you take into account the millions of hotels globally and that they are ‘live’ 24/7/365 with water used for showers, baths, sinks, toilets, bidets, swimming pools, laundry, kitchens, cleaning, grounds maintenance and hospitality, it’s easy to see why.

When it comes to water, hotels have to make every drop count because it adds up to a significant amount being saved when multiplied globally and most of the time the solution is very easy and cost effective.

This can start with staff and even guests being encouraged to engage and communicate more.

It’s important to educate staff to think bigger i.e. on a global scale rather than just what it means for the hotel they operate in.

For example, the early reporting of leaks or dripping taps so they can be addressed quickly will save large amounts of precious water across thousands of hotels – staff are likely to face the same issues whether they are in London, California or Sydney.

This is vitally important for those working in large chains because it should be easier for them to visualise how each time they save water it could do the same for each hotel in the group.

The Hotel Water Measurement Initiative can play a big part in this.

Now hotels are able to measure their water use in a consistent way, they will be able to share data, performance and benchmark initiatives and tips to save much more.

Another important step is ensuring the design team that is planning your new hotel or refurbishing your existing property is fully briefed on the need to save and reuse as much water as possible.

Encouraging them to think innovatively is paramount as they could unearth a new solution.

This is how we created Eco Cistem, the world’s first cistern to use condensate from air conditioning units to flush the toilet.

As a director of the G&H Group, a mechanical and electrical contractor, for decades I, and the Managing Director Graham Kelly designed hotel schemes with a pipe draining away all the condensate from air conditioning units.

Water was literally going down the drain but not via the toilet.

When you consider how many hotel rooms there are across the world, billions of litres of condensate water is generated all of which has been wasted until now.

We knew we had to do something about this and make every drop count so spent three years developing the only cistern in the world that uses this free, sustainable water to flush the toilet.

To offer worldwide appeal and save as much water as possible, it was designed so it fits like a conventional cistern and is suitable for new build hotels and can be retrofitted too.

In the UK, where average annual temperatures do not reach anything like those in places such as the United States, southern Europe, Asia Pacific, the MENA region, South America and Australasia, the amount of condensate created still runs into the billions of litres.

For example, data from hotel benchmarking specialist STR shows 114 hotels are currently being built in the UK.

These hotels alone would save 218 million litres of water a year simply by using Eco Cistem compared to traditional cisterns.

This works out at 1.92 million litres a year for a 132-bed hotel based on 80% occupancy levels.

For context, this would fill the equivalent of 87 Olympic swimming pools.

And the water savings are even greater in hotter climates where more condensate is generated.

In the US, the 1,477 hotels currently in construction would save 4.7 billion litres of water a year and 2.4 billion for the 302 in the Middle East.

All this by simply choosing a different toilet cistern.