Retail beverage coolers using a typical once-through cooling system to keep things cold waste thousands of litres of fresh water annually. DGL Images

Water efficiency makes good business sense: CRD

Using once-through cooling systems impacts regional water conservation; it’s also hard on your wallet

If your business uses commercial refrigeration to keep food and beverage products cold, or rooms at a comfortable temperature, your utility bills may be far higher than necessary. Not to mention the fact your system may be wasting millions of litres of fresh water annually.

Did you know the typical “once-through” or single-pass-through cooling system sends fresh water down the drain every day it is in use?

In the Capital Regional District, residents do their part for water conservation by adhering to the lawn watering conservation schedule in summer. If you’re a business operator looking to make a meaningful contribution to environmental initiatives, moving to a more efficient cooling system can be a great start, says Glenn Harris, senior manager of the CRD’s environmental protection team.

“Once-through-cooling (OTC) systems are inexpensive to buy and install, but they cost a lot of money when it comes to the utility bill – and they waste a lot of water,” he says.

OTC systems found in various places

A wide variety of businesses and other institutions use OTC systems, from restaurants and bars to food wholesale, retail, or processing facilities; universities, colleges and schools, hotels and motels, office buildings, medical facilities and more. The number of OTC units varies depending on the size and scope of the operation, but it’s safe to say their use is widespread around Greater Victoria. But some local businesses have undertaken retrofits of their cooling units. Here’s an example of the potential cost savings in a restaurant scenario.

Looking to replace your cooling system?

Whether the long-term cost factor, the environmental impact, or both got your attention, taking steps to investigate your options is as easy as visiting the CRD’s website at crd.bc.ca/OTC. There you can find tips and cost estimates for retrofitting your OTC system with a more efficient method of cooling.

Wonder why water conservation is so important for our region?

  • The region’s municipal water source, the Sooke Reservoir, relies on winter rains to fill it. There is often no significant rainfall between May and September, the months where water consumption nearly doubles.
  • The rain captured in winter must meet the CRD’s water needs for the year. Practising water conservation and using water responsibly can help delay the need to fund and develop new sources of water and expand infrastructure to meet increasing demand.
  • Conservation is crucial to ensure adequate water supply for drinking water, fire protection, water quality and ecosystem support through the dry summer months.

Learn more about how the CRD can help you transition from OTC equipment to air-cooled or re-circulating equipment at crd.bc.ca/OTC or by calling 250-360-3103.

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