Western recognized for water efficiency

Special to Western News

Special to Western News Gary Houghton, Ontario Water Works Association President, presents Mike McLean, Director (Facilities Planning & Design), with the 2016 Water Efficiency Award from the Ontario Water Works Association.

Western received the 2016 Water Efficiency Award, recognizing excellence in water conservation and strategic action, at the annual Ontario Water Works Association conference on May 3 in Windsor.

“We are honoured,” said Saher Fazilat, Executive Director (Facilities Development & Engineering). “The Water Efficiency Award is quite prestigious, highlighting the very best in conservation.”

Taking top honours in the Private Sector category, Western has focused its water strategy around metering, utility management and engagement.

By the end of this year, 83 per cent of Western’s buildings will have a water meter. By spring 2018, all buildings will be onboard. The meters provide real-time data on water demand and historical figures, which are integrated into the online Energy Dashboard.

The data obtained from the meters is used to verify performance on recent efficiency projects. Visible results help Western personnel identify opportunities for improvement, planning, sizing infrastructure upgrades, and billing.

As a result of the program, the water-use intensity has decreased by 18 per cent in three years. At the same time, water rates have increased by 47 per cent, saving Western significantly on utility costs.

Roughly 80 per cent of Western’s new construction and major renovations have or are targeting a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Green building criteria has elevated the standard on utility efficiencies. As with many other sustainability efforts, Western’s water management strategy surpasses the minimum requirements, Fazilat said.

“We are pushing the bar higher every year with our water projects,” she continued. “Being recognized at such a high level encourages us to put the accelerator down even further and hit goals we didn’t know were achievable.”