Moab Happenings Archive
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Water and Energy Conservation Nexus
Commercial and Residential
Dr. Rosemarie Russo and Sean McKay

Every gallon of water has an energy footprint needed to pump, move, heat, and treat water. Saving water can save energy, and vice versa. Seven percent of a commercial building’s energy is used to heat water – almost as much energy as used for cooling and ventilation. Significant savings can be realized by reducing hot water usage in mechanical systems, commercial kitchens, and laundry and sanitary systems. Evaluating water and energy efficiency together provides the greatest savings for businesses and homeowners. Any Rocky Mountain Power residential customer can get three free sink and shower aerators to help save water and there are numerous rebates for the business community.

Water use in Moab differs by sectors: residential use accounts for 51 percent of Moab’s water use; commercial use accounts for 17 percent; motels and overnight rentals account for 16 percent; institutional facilities account for 11 percent; parks and cemeteries use three percent and fire protection and wells accounts for two percent of the culinary water used.

Throughout 2019, the City of Moab will be posting tips to save water. Several hotels, campgrounds, homeowner associations and residents have been working on conservation through the 40-Gallon Pledge, which is a one month challenge with several suggestions to reduce water use and by joining the Green to Gold Business Program. Green to Gold is a free program aimed at helping businesses save money and become more sustainable. Green to Gold nightly accommodations that have been introducing water conservation to guests include: ACT Campground, Adventure Inn, Aarchway Inn, La Quinta and Moab Springs Ranch. Door hangers ask guests to please conserve water, especially when showering, etc., and remind them that Moab is a desert that only receives nine inches of rain a year. Restrooms can account for up to 40 percent of water use.

Tips for conserving water


• Using aerators on sinks and showers reduces water use without the expense of replacing fixtures. (5,208 gallons saved [annually? Per household?])
• A running toilet can waste a significant amount of water. Fix any leaks. (11,160 gallons saved)
• Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading to air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
• Older fixtures installed before 1994 use 3-5 times more water than newer efficient models. Consider replacing them. (2,976 gallons saved)

• Replace 1,000 square feet of turf with shrubs and groundcovers for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips. (14,880 gallons saved)
• Add mulch (2 to 3 inches) around 1,000 square-foot trees and plants (9,300 gallons saved)
• Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
(7,440 gallons saved)
• Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
• Reduce irrigation runtimes by 2 minutes. (29,760 gallons saved)
Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rainfall.
• Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.

To obtain door hangers for a hotel, contact the City of Moab’s Sustainability Director at or Sustainability Intern, Sean McKay.

Free mulch is available at City Public Works Building – 470 Kane Blvd. To request aerators, visit the City’s sustainability website,

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