look for
Putting WaterSenseฎ to Work
Federal Agency Implements
Water Management Strategy
Sector: Laboratories; Focus: Water Monitoring and Management
Project Summary
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) owns or operates 30
research laboratories across the country. These laboratories
encompass more than 3.8 million square feet of conditioned space and
are occupied by approximately 5,800 employees. For more than a
decade, water conservation has been a top priority for EPA and the
managers of these laboratories.
In 2002, EPA began conducting facility water assessments at 29 of its
major laboratories. Consistent with WaterSense at Work Section 1.2
Water Management Planning, EPA's goal during every water
assessment is to fully understand where all water entering the facility is
used and to identify ways to reduce that water use. Specifically, the
assessments focus on:
•	Reviewing historical water use.
•	Identifying utility cost information.
•	Touring the facility to inventory all water-using equipment and
•	Identifying and fixing apparent leaks.
•	Preparing drought contingency plans.
•	Developing a "water balance" of all water uses in the facility.
•	Identifying project opportunities to reduce water use.
Due to its efforts between 2002 and 2007 to assess water use, set
water management goals, and implement projects, EPA was able to
reduce its water use intensity by 8.4 percent.
With the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA)
and the signing of Executive Order 13423 in 2007, federal agencies
were required to: track and reduce potable water use 16 percent by
2015, assess their water use in individual facilities, and implement
projects to reduce water use. Subsequently, Executive Order 13514
required federal agencies to reduce potable water use intensity by 2
percent per year through 2020, from a 2007 baseline, and track and
reduce non-potable water use. Since EPA had been assessing water
use at most of its laboratories, it was easily able to establish its 2007
baseline; however, its challenge was to continue to reduce water use
by identifying additional project opportunities.
Case Study
•	Facility name: EPA laboratories
•	Location: 29 laboratories
•	Number of occupants:
Approximately 5,800
•	Building size: 3.9 million gross
square feet
•	Water savings: Among all 29
laboratories, reduced water use
intensity (in gallons per gross
square foot) by 18.7 percent
between 2007 and 2010, which is
equal to 23.4 million gallons of
total water saved
•	Cost savings: Approximately
$200,000 in water and sewer
costs over the three-year period
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSITE www.epa.gov/watersense EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
A rn* EPA-832-F 14-002-F
WtlVA July 2014

In 2008, EPA developed an Agencywide Water Conservation Strategic Plan. The plan was built on the Agency's
prior water efficiency success and EISA and Executive Order requirements. The plan's objectives are to:
•	Conduct water use and conservation assessments at each of its major laboratories every four years.
•	Establish annual facility-specific water reduction targets.
•	Identify and implement new water efficiency projects.
The plan is updated regularly to document EPA's water reduction successes and incorporate plans and goals for
the future.
EPA's 2009 aggregated laboratory-wide water balance, taken from its 2010 strategic plan update, is shown in
Figure 1. Water use for each individual laboratory is tracked separately and may vary from this aggregate,
depending upon its specific operations and processes.
Figure 1. Typical Water Use at EPA Laboratories, 2009
Cooling Towers
Lab Process/Misc
Water Use
Reverse Osmosis
Vivarium Operations
Boilers/Hot Water
Single-Pass Cooling
Aquatic Culture Water
\	3%
Since 2007, EPA has completed a variety of projects across some or all laboratories in its portfolio, including:
•	Installing 1.6 gallon per flush (gpf) or dual-flush toilets, WaterSense labeled flushing urinals, and 0.5
gallon per minute (gpm) faucet aerators on lavatory faucets.
•	Contracting with irrigation professionals certified through a WaterSense labeled certification program to
conduct irrigation system audits and identify areas of improvement.
•	Closely monitoring cooling towers to ensure that cycles of concentration are maximized.
•	Collecting and reusing air handler condensate as cooling tower make-up water.
•	Eliminating any remaining instances of single-pass cooling, replacing equipment such as water-cooled ice
machines and liquid-ring vacuum pumps.
•	Controlling the use of tempering water to cool steam sterilizer discharge water, only allowing the
tempering water to flow when the equipment is in use.

EPA also established annual water reduction targets for each facility. As the targets are monitored and the
facilities are reassessed, targets are updated and new projects are identified so EPA can continue making
progress towards Agencywide goals.
Savings Summary
EPA's facility-specific approach to water efficiency has resulted in significant savings when tallied up among all of
the Agency's laboratories. As of the end of 2010, EPA has reduced its water use intensity by 18.7 percent from
the required 2007 baseline. This amounts to approximately 23.4 million gallons in total water savings and water
and sewer cost savings of more than $200,000. See Figure 2 for an illustration of EPA's water savings in recent
Figure 2. Water Use Intensity of All EPA Laboratories (gallons per gross square foot), 2007-2010

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
— EPA's Actual Gallons per Gross Square Foot — Executive Order 13514 Target
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program acknowledges EPA Water
Management Coordinator Dexter Johnson and EPA Sustainable Facilities Practices Branch Chief Bucky Green
for providing information for this case study.
Learn More
To learn more about water efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings, visit the WaterSense website at
www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial to access WaterSense at Work best management practices, tools, case
studies, and more.