Water Wise

The energy used to heat hot water accounts for almost a quarter of the energy used in a typical multifamily building. In addition, water consumption often accounts for a significant portion of a building's operational costs. Upgrading to energy-efficient water heating systems and installing water conservation products can save both energy and water and lead to major cost savings.

Water Heaters and Boilers

If the same boiler that is used for space heating is also used to heat water, upgrades to the heating system may also increase the efficiency of the hot water system. To reduce the energy used to create hot water, you can:

  • Convert away from heavy heating oil to a cleaner fuel.
  • Insulate the water storage tank, boiler, and piping to reduce standby losses.
  • Upgrade to a tankless water heater or point of use system to minimize heat losses associated with water tanks.
  • Separate hot water from the boiler and install a discrete hot water system for summer months.

Solar Hot Water Heaters

Solar hot water heaters are installed on the roof and use the sun's energy to heat water. They are typically connected to existing hot water systems and can provide auxiliary heating that meets 25 to 80 percent of a building's hot water needs. Solar hot water heater projects generally benefit buildings that have fewer than 12 stories and require short piping runs, large and unobstructed southern-facing roof spaces, and space for storage tanks.

Water Conservation

Reducing the amount of hot water your building uses is a great way to save energy. To save water and money, you can:

  • Install high-efficiency WaterSense® labeled showerheads.
  • Install WaterSense labeled faucet aerators.
  • Install WaterSense labeled dual-flush, high-efficiency toilets.
  • Use ENERGY STAR® clothes washers and dishwashers.
  • Inspect all water-using appliances and building equipment for leaks.

Technology Primers

Additional Water Resources