Case Study 6 - Training of Account Managers to support Water Efficiency Initiative | L&DA

The Regulatory and commercial context

The client water company concerned had an agreement in place with the regulator to restrict water abstraction throughout the region. As a consequence, the client company made a commitment to the regulator to encourage and educate consumers on how to improve water use efficiency and thereby reduce water consumption.

A number of public information campaigns were organised to target household consumers. This included such measures as provision of online advisory videos and documentation, and various initiatives to directly support schools in educating pupils. However, a different approach was required to encourage and support non household consumers to improve water use efficiency. Key to this was the role of Account Managers who liaised directly with the businesses and organisations purchasing water services. When negotiating contracts for supply of water services with non-household consumers, Account Managers had a perfect opportunity to promote the adoption of new approaches to water efficiency.

The design of bespoke training for Account Managers

Learning and Development Associates, consulted with the client and designed a one-day bespoke Water Efficiency training module for Account Managers servicing non-household customers. The following key themes were addressed in the training day:

  • Providing advice to customers on how to measure and reduce their water consumption and implement an in-house water management strategy
  • Provision of background information on the need for water efficiency and the financial and environmental bene fits it can give
  • Guidance on how to influence consumer behaviour
  • The range of cost effective solutions for reducing businesses’ water bills and environmental impact
  • Overview of the water saving measures included in the Water Fittings Regulations

The one-day training module provided an overview of key issues relating to water efficiency, to allow staff to provide ‘high level’ advice to consumers. The training was not intended to overly technical (such in-depth knowledge is not appropriate for the role of the staff attending training).

The style of training delivery was designed to be interactive and involve the use of scenario exercises – to identify best practice response when dealing with a range of situations faced by consumers. Time was also allocated for a question and answer session, to enable learners to consolidate understand of how they can apply the learning in their every day job role.

Delivery and content of the training

Approximately 20 Account Managers attended the training, delivered over two separate days. (The cohort size was limited to 10 learners to ensure opportunity for discussion and examination of the issues addressed).

Specific items addressed as:

  • The regulatory and business context and importance of the client promoting water efficiency
  • Providing water efficiency advice to businesses
  • Plumbing appliances for water efficiency
  • Saving water through process efficiencies
  • Alternative water supplies
  • Non return to sewer allowance
  • Water Champions and Case studies

In terms of persuading businesses on the importance of water, the following considerations were highlighted:

  • Water costs can be between 1% and 2% of a company’s turnover
  • Savings of between 30% and 50% can be achieved by installing no cost or investing in low cost water reduction practices and technologies
  • A company with an annual turnover of £2 million could save up to £20,000 per year

A strategic approach to improving water efficiency was promoted using the following model:

 

Learners were made aware of a whole range of plumbing appliances available they could recommend to their clients to reduce water use by staff (see below).

Water efficient taps

  • In commercial premises, around 30% of water is used when operating taps, mainly for hand washing
  • Self-closing taps
  • Adding air (spray taps and tap aerators)
  • Electronic sensor taps

Water efficient toilets

  • Significant quantities of water used in commercial premises results from flushing toilets. In the absence of urinals, this can account for up to 75% of water use in washrooms
  • An office fitted with 9-litre WC cisterns and employing 100 staff could save around £500/year in water and sewerage charges using Hippo bags

Dual Flush toilets

  • Two flush volumes
  • Savings of up to 30% per flush
  • Can be retro fitted or and a variable flush can save you up to 4 litres per flush (for 9-litre cisterns) and cost as little as £10

Urinals

Urinal flushing can typically account for around 20% of water used in commercial premises, but it can be more than 50% if urinals are operating without flush controls

  • Motion sensor flush
  • Waterless urinals

Showers

  • Auto push off
  • Aerated

In addition to reducing water use by staff, vast reductions in water use could be achieved by industrial business through the introduction of process efficiencies. This is quite a technical area and the intention of the training was to provide account managers with an awareness of options for process efficiencies, so they could refer their clients “in the right direction” for more technical advice and support. Areas addressed are shown below. Quite a technical area covering:

  • Process Control devices
  • Flow limiting devices
  • Nozzle and spray technology
  • Countercurrent rinsing

More information available from Wrap leaflet and website www.wrap.org.uk

Laundries

  • Water and wastewater costs represent more than 50% of the total operating costs in the typical commercial laundry
  • Need to monitor rewash rate
  • Can install more water efficient machines in which the final rinse water is used for pre-rinse

Cleaning

  • Take simple steps first like fitting triggers to hoses
  • Pressure washers only use 8 to 12 litres per minute and are more effective for dried-on dirt
  • Volume hoses can have a flow rate up to 10 times normal mains flow rates (typically 80 to 150 litres per minute). For extended periods they can use huge volumes of water
  • Scrapers and brushes can be effective for certain applications, e.g. sweeping up slurry

Catering

  • Taps left running over sinks for rinsing food are often a reason for excessive water use. A large fully opened tap, running continuously, can have a flow of up to 20 litres/minute
  • Fit spray heads or flow regulators to taps used for rinsing to reduce the maximum flow
  • Install automatic shut-off taps (e.g. foot- operated taps); and
  • Use trigger-operated spray guns

Options for alternative water supplies were also briefly addressed covering:

  • Greywater Re-cycling
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Borewells/Abstraction
  • Water impoundment

Outcome of the training

A final session of the day involved:

  • A fun quiz to consolidate learning
  • Facilitated discussion to identify and agree departmental actions on how best to implement the learning and better inform and encourage clients to adopt water efficiency measures.]

Account managers found the training very informative, as a result they were far more able and confident to talk with clients to:

  1. Address the importance of water efficiency in their business
  2. Highlight options for promoting water efficiency. account managers
  3. Recommend avenues for obtaining specialised technical advice and support to select and implement water efficiency measures