[Skip to Content]

System Impacts

Share non government site opens in new window
Human Behavior on System System Impact on Humans

Human Behavior on Water

Within the sustainable building environment, human behavior plays a critical and often overlooked component. Obtaining the participation of building occupants in the water conservation program is vital in achieving water use reduction goals while often being one of the most cost-effective strategies.

Occupants have a direct impact on water use and are key to a building’s water conservation program. Significant water can be wasted from occupants inadvertently leaving water fixtures running or not correctly using water-efficient plumbing and kitchen equipment. A conventional kitchen water faucet kept open at fifty percent for only a quarter of an hour wastes nearly ten gallons of water. Conversely, occupants that are well educated on the benefits and proper use of all directly-contacted water system components can ensure that water reductions are realized from water efficiency retrofits. For example, occupants should be trained on the use of dual-flush toilets. Occupants can also be incentivized through contests or award programs to assist with environmentally conscious practices.

Best Practices and Strategies

Train occupants on the proper use and purpose of any new water-efficient technology. Set up a 'hotline' to report leaks or other wastes of water to facility managers or maintenance personnel. Well-maintained automatic faucets can save water.
Establish a continually evolving public information and education water program. Place placards or signs on water efficient plumbing fixtures and systems to highlight and remind occupants of their purpose. Distribute flyers and pamphlets to increase awareness of the facility’s water management plan.
Meter and publically showcase or distribute the gathered data on water use. Demonstrate use over time to bring personal value to occupants. Initiate a suggestion or incentive program to recognize water-saving ideas. Start a water column in your regular employee newsletter featuring how much water has been saved through the water management program.
Consider Green Team projects to promote occupant water conservation