Green Fire Times

Commercial Water Audit Training and the Next Generation Water Summit

Jennifer Fin Rios of Restaurant Martin

By Christine Y. Chavez and Glenn Schiffbauer

The City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Program has made great strides in developing incentives for water customers with an indoor rebate program and a newly simplified outdoor rebate program. The Passport Program is one of the City’s expanded education programs underway in the public schools.

The Water Conservation Office has begun to focus on commercial customers and what can be done to help them save water and money. The City is partnering with the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce on the recently launched Restaurant Pilot Program, which has been endorsed by EPA Watersense and the Santa Fe Restaurant Association. Glenn Schiffbauer, executive director of the Green Chamber said, “Most of our restaurants are pretty conscious regarding their water usage. With this program we are able to make a very solid case that not only are they doing the right thing, but it will show up on their bottom line as well.”

Participating restaurants receive free replacement of aerators and pre-rinse spray valves, and a free commercial water audit, valued at $500 to $1,000, conducted by Resource-Wise and City of Santa Fe Water Conservation staff. The audit provides an overview of water use and identifies ways to reduce usage. An equipment survey is made to help develop a specific rebate for replacement of water-using equipment with more efficient appliance options or processes. The project is also an opportunity for restaurant staff to understand the audit process and receive training on the new EyeonWater app, which allows users to track water use on a computer or mobile phone in real-time, and set up alerts for early leak detection. The program also provides hands-on-training for outdoor landscape and residential home audits.

Twenty one restaurants have participated so far, including Paper Dosa, Tecolote, Casa Chimayo, Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen and the Coyote Cafe. Each will receive a comprehensive report of the findings. City staff will present the results of the Pilot Project at the Next Generation Water Summit, being held April 29–May 1 in Santa Fe.

Participating restaurants are showcased on www.savewatersantafe.com and the Santa Fe Green Chamber websites, and are included in “Make a Reservation to Save Water,” a social media campaign. The restaurants also receive a one-year membership in the Green Chamber of Commerce and because of their participation in the study and implementation of some of the management practices that lead to lower uses of energy and water, they will be recognized at this year’s Mayor’s Sustainability Awards.

As part of the Next Generation Water Summit there will be a commercial audit training opportunity with an industry leader, Bill Hoffman, who has 50 years of experience working with institutional, commercial and industrial water conservation programs. Immediately following the summit, on May 2–3, he will teach a Commercial Water Auditing class at Santa Fe Community College. For more information visit www.nextgenerationwatersummit.com 

Both the City of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce want to congratulate those restaurants that have participated and applaud their commitment to saving water.

Christine Y. Chavez, Water Conservation Manager for the City of Santa Fe, has a background in water rights administration and energy and water conservation program management. She graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in environmental science and an M.S. in biology. She can be reached at 505.955.4219 or cychavez@santafenm.gov

Glenn Schiffbauer has been the Executive Director of the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce since its inception 5 years ago. He received his B.B.A. from New Mexico State University and his M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico. He may be contacted at glenn@nmgreenchamber.com