GSA Saves Taxpayer Dollars with Water-Use Reductions in Austin

In partnership with Austin Water, GSA’s Greater Southwest Region conducted comprehensive water efficiency reviews of five federal office buildings in Austin, Texas, and identified investments that could be made to save 10.5 million gallons of water annually and $200,000 in utility bills. This reduction in water use will help GSA meet the goals of an executive order issued by President Obama in 2009 that set forth several sustainability goals for federal facilities, including an overall 26 percent reduction in water use by

Federal facilities reviewed by GSA and Austin Water were the Federal Courthouse, Homer Thornberry Building, J. J. Pickle Building, U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Building, and the U.S. Treasury Building.  During the reviews, the following water efficiency investments were identified, along with their return on investment and applicable rebate opportunities:

  • Retrofit to high efficiency faucet aerators, showerheads, toilets and urinals
  • Irrigation system repairs and upgrades
  • Separate irrigation meters to better manage water use and eliminate wastewater charges
  • Cooling tower water efficiency improvements
  • Rainwater and air conditioner condensate collection systems
  • Reclaimed water use
  • Native plant landscaping

GSA’s Greater Southwest Region received almost $22,000 in rebates from Austin Water to conduct the reviews in exchange for addressing the identified investments. Total cost of addressing the identified investments was $400k which will reach a simple payback of 2.4 years. In addition to the $200,000 decrease in utility bills, savings will include reduced energy and chemical costs  — a natural byproduct of water-use reduction.