Saving Water in Labs: How To Do It (And Why You Should Care)

Dan Doyle, Grumman/Butkus Associates
Allison Paradise, My Green Lab

Lab buildings generally use significantly more water per square foot than standard commercial buildings do, primarily to meet large cooling and process loads. Labs have ample opportunities to conserve resources and save money by making changes in the way they obtain and use water. This presentation will help attendees understand why water efficiency should be a priority; how water and energy resources are inextricably linked; and how to analyze and improve their water usage by creating a water management plan.

The presentation will cover diverse opportunities for improvement, including:

  • Taps/toilets/urinals
  • Water stills and RO/DI systems
  • Sterilizing systems
  • Icemakers
  • Vacuum aspirators
  • Single-pass cooling equipment
  • Cooling towers
  • Humidification systems
  • Irrigation
  • Alternative water sources (air-conditioning condensate recovery, rainwater harvesting)

Pollution, climate change, and population increases are all placing pressure on water supplies worldwide. By conserving water, labs can help mitigate likely cost increases while safeguarding a precious resource.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand why water efficiency should be a priority and how water and energy resources are inextricably linked
  • Describe some of the basic equipment and systems that consume water in laboratory facilities
  • Develop a water balance as part of a water management plan
  • Identify ways to reduce water usage of process equipment, cooling systems, and irrigation, and identify potential alternative sources of water for non-potable uses


Dan Doyle, P.E., LEED AP O+M, is the Chairman of Grumman/Butkus Associates, a firm of energy efficiency consultants and sustainable design engineers based in metro Chicago. He is responsible for G/BA's marketing and recruiting, and is principal-in-charge for numerous designs and studies. For the past 35 years, his career has focused on energy conservation and efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings, especially energy-intensive facilities such as labs. He is an I2SL board member.

Allison Paradise is the Executive Director of My Green Lab, a California-based non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainability in laboratories. My Green Lab works with over two dozen organizations in California and several organizations nationally to reduce the environmental impact of their labs through outreach programs and concrete initiatives. Paradise holds degrees in neuroscience from Brown and Harvard, and before co-founding My Green Lab, she worked as a scientific consultant.


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