Tools for reducing water use in building cooling towers

Cooling towers, part of the system to remove excess heat from the interior of large buildings, are usually hidden on the building roof and receive little public attention except when they may be associated with an outbreak of Legionella disease. The New York City based Environmental Defense Fund has calculated that buildings with cooling towers typically use 28% of their total water use for their cooling towers, In addition to the cost and environmental impact of that amount of water use, chemicals are added to the cooling tower water to extend its usable life by reducing precipitation of solids and killing bacteria.

Rather than calling for additional regulations or other government involvement, EDF has partnered with AT&T Inc. to develop and publish a toolkit through which building managers can develop their own  building-related water efficiency plan. The toolkit includes:

  • WaterMapp, a multi-tabbed spreadsheet with a water scorecard and a water efficiency calculator. The scorecard is used to create visibility for water performance at facilities. The calculator estimates water and financial savings from cooling tower or free-air cooling improvements—key data for making the water-efficiency investment business case
  • A cooling system efficiency guide and a series of 12 videos to provide more information on how a cooling system works and how systems can be managed to minimize their use of water, energy and chemicals.
  • Water audit templates to assist in defining the unique water profile of a building. As regular readers of GallonDaily will know, measurement is an essential precondition for effective efficiency initiatives.

EDF is holding a free webinar on Wednesday October 2nd from 3 to 4 pm Eastern time to introduce the toolkit. Preregistration is required. The webinar is to be conducted by experts and will introduce building managers and other involved individuals to:

  • Measuring and managing water use
  • Optimizing building cooling
  • Building the business case to realize an ROI on water management

The introduction to the building water efficiency toolkit, a link to the kit, and a link for registration for the webinar, can be found at

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