Efficient use of water – a great opportunity

Blog Action Day 2010 water

Once more the West Midlands Regional Observatory joins Blog Action Day. This is an annual event held every 15 October and unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.

Our low carbon research has highlighted that the greatest opportunities for moving towards a low carbon economy are related to ‘decarbonising’ the current business processes. In other words, have more efficient processes in place. This can be achieved either through using resources more efficiently (for example water, electricity and raw materials) or by reducing the amount of waste produced.

Businesses in the West Midlands are already taking advantage of these opportunities. Here are a few examples of companies using water more efficiently.

Lafarge Cement UK

Lafarge Cement UK won the Water Efficiency Award in 2009 for a water conscious project at its Cauldon Cement Works in Staffordshire.

Measurable environmental and financial savings were achieved. The project, at a site of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation, replaced the abstraction of water from the nearby River Hamps with a closed system reducing water use from 290,000 cubic metres down to only 15,000 cubic metres. All works water is now recirculated internally, with the main hub being a restored shale lake.

The new system has reduced flood risks in the local area and provides Lafarge with the control required to contain potential pollution in the event of a major incident within the factory site.

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust project ‘Water Conservation, An Easy Win’, recognises practical measures that save water and money. The Trust introduced a project to minimise water consumption. The Engineering Department devised and implemented several initiatives in order to facilitate the proposed reductions.

Regular steam plant inspections were undertaken and faulty steam traps repaired, with increased insulation added to the plant rooms to reduce the amount of condensate loss from faulty steam traps. Also, they introduced steam trap alarm systems to the Heart and Lung Centre to alert the Estate Technician of any faulty trapping sets.

They also took steps to identify and repair water leaks and faulty equipment across the site, fit water displacement devices in cisterns and identify areas of large water usage.

These initiatives resulted in a water consumption reduction of 41,435 cubic metres and a financial saving of £75,822.

Coors Brewers

Coors Brewers, based in Burton, worked closely with Severn Trent Water on a number of initiatives to reduce their overall water use and costs.

An initial review identified excessive use of water for cleaning, better use of water when controlling the chase and purge process, minimisation of bright beer tank overflows to reclaim valuable product and a new customised cleaning-in-place (CIP) regime to reduce the use of water and chemicals.

Cost savings were significant. The more accurate dosing and control in CIP operations produced an annual saving of £42,000 in chemical, water, effluent and electricity costs.

If you know other success stories in the West Midlands, please share them below.

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