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Survey: UK firms wasting water, energy … and money

faucet-and-sinkIf not everyone is taking the steps they should to reduce their energy consumption, at least most realize they should be. Not so with water, though: the Environment Agency this week released numbers showing few business owners think saving water is as important as saving energy.

In fact, only 10 percent of the 1,000 decision-makers polled by the agency said water conservation merits as much concern as energy conservation. Oddly, however, a few more — 15 percent — acknowledged their businesses did in fact have a water efficiency policy in place.

The Environment Agency conducted its survey in advance of this year’s Water Efficiency Awards. Offered biannually since 2000, the awards are set to be presented on 15 July of this year.

If UK business owners aren’t very enthused about water conservation, many have also yet to demonstrate an interest in energy savings, either. The survey found that more than half the firms polled have no environmental or sustainability policy of any kind. Equally discouraging was the finding that 55 percent of decision-makers say the current economic climate will lead UK businesses to reduce, rather than increase, spending on sustainability efforts.

That’s unfortunate, according to the agency, considering that “sustainability and profit should go hand in hand for businesses.” A simple and low-cost step such as fixing a small tap leak, for example, could save a business more than £900 a year in water-in/water-out costs. (Remember, you pay for water twice: to pipe it in and to send it out for wastewater treatment.)

“It is vital that businesses remain committed to best practice through this difficult economic period,” said Ian Barker, head of water resources at the Environment Agency. “Whilst we appreciate the strains that company finances are under, the majority of efficiency measures actually reduce costs by reducing water and energy use.”

Green business, Barker points out, is good business … no matter what the state of the economy. Take note, conservation slackers. (And you know who you are.)

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