513 Green Resources

Unsure of what a certain metric means or how to achieve it? Use these resources for clarification and guidance on how to implement new sustainable actions in your workplace.

Click on each metric to show the relevant resources and information.


1. Perform a water waste walkthrough on a scheduled basis

  • Example:
  • Have an employee inspect the office once or twice a year looking for any sign of leaks or continuously running water.
  • EPA checklist for spotting water waste and encouraging employees to report leaks.
  • Greater Cincinnati Water Works tips for checking for leaks.
  • Benefit:​​
  • ​Helps to avoid the costs and damage associated with leaks and continuously running water.

2. Track, understand, and review utility bills and water meter for any indications of leaks or other problems​

  • Compile your water bills from at least the last 12 months. Compare readings to previous ones to spot trends or inconsistencies.
  • Examples:
  • Benefit:​
  • Monitoring water use enables your company to understand water use patterns and identify potential inefficiencies. Monitoring is also essential to setting reduction targets in water use.

3. Have the policy to purchase and use water-conserving products, like WaterSense approved products​

  • WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party certification and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance.
  • Benefits:
  • When you use these water–saving products in your business, you can expect a higher performance, savings on your water bills, and assurance that you are saving water for future generations.

4. Have an ongoing system for employees to report leaks or inefficient irrigation​

  • Example:
  • Put up signs in restrooms, kitchens, and other high-traffic areas where water is used to instruct employees and visitors to report leaks to maintenance staff for repair.
  • Benefit:
  • Ensures that leaks or running water don't go unnoticed for long periods of time.​

5. Only run dishwashers when fully loaded or pre-soak dishes before washing them​

  • Examples:
  • Have a schedule for running the dishwasher to ensure it's fully loaded every time it's run.
  • If your office doesn't have a dishwasher, use a small amount of water to pre-soak dirty dishes instead of scrubbing dishes under running water
  • Benefits:
  • Running a half empty dishwasher wastes both water, energy, and money.​
  • Pre-soaking dishes to be handwashed, avoids wasting water needed to scrub off stubborn food.

6. Have a water bottle refill station or keep a pitcher of water-cooled in the refrigerator​

  • Have a readily available way for employees to refill reusable cups and bottles. ​
  • Benefits:
  • Having a water refill station ensures employees only take the water need and reduces the need for plastic water bottles​.

7. Encourage employees to use dry cleaning methods like sweeping floors​

  • Examples:
  • Use brooms, brushes, vacuums, squeegees, scrapers and other utensils to clean material before water is used. For example:
  • Sweep floors and pavement instead of hosing with water.
  • Vacuum or sweep dry material spills such as salt or dyes instead of using water.
  • Use squeegees to collect food processing residues from the floor before hosing with water.
  • Vacuum or sweep dust instead of hosing with water.​
  • Benefits:​
  • Dry sweeping methods conserve water and save water purchasing costs.

8. Encourage employees to use cold water over warm water whenever possible

  • Examples:
  • ​Put up signage over sinks encouraging employees to avoid using hot water when cold water will suffice​​​ and to conserve water.
  • Benefits:​
  • Conserves energy and water and saves on water/energy purchasing costs.​

9. Use non-potable water for cleaning, rinsing, spraying sidewalks

  • Water collected from alternate water sources like rainwater that is not treated for consumption, but is collected and reused onsite for uses such as irrigation and cleaning, rinsing, and spraying sidewalks.
  • Example:
  • Use green infrastructure such as a rainwater catchment system ​to collect and store rainwater for landscaping.
  • Benefits:
  • Collecting and using rainwater water reduces your workplace's water consumption, reduces pressure on ​the sewer system, and reduces water purchasing costs.

10. Have green infrastructure and/or use green irrigation systems​

  • While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.
  • Examples:​​

  • More information about specific types of green infrastructure can be found in an Introduction to Green Infrastructure​ including green roofs, permeable pavement, and rainwater catchment systems.
  • Benefits:​

  • Collecting and using rainwater water reduces your workplace's water consumption, reduces pressure on ​the sewer system, and reduces water purchasing costs.

11. Limit water usage during rainstorms​

  • Much of the Cincinnati area has combined sewers that carry both sewage and rain water (known as stormwater) in the same pipe. During a hard rain, the pipes reach capacity and overflow into local rivers and streams. Limiting water usage during heavy rainstorms can help prevent this from happening, especially when combined with green infrastructure.

  • Examples:​

  • Hold off on using irrigation techniques, running the dishwasher, or using water for cleaning or rinsing sidewalks.
  • Benefits:

  • Reduces pressure on the sewage system and the risk of stormwater overflows.

12. Communicate water conservation information and progress to employees

  • Provide employees with regular updates about water initiatives and progress
  • Examples​:
  • Post progress towards water goals on bulletin boards, post tips in staff spaces, include regular sustainability reminders in staff meetings or newsletters, or post updates on the company intranet channel.
  • Benefit:
  • ​Regular updates helps to keep water efforts at the forefront of employees’ minds and ties employees’ effort to actual results.