Facility Systems

Low-flow shower heads: The Navy purchased over 10,000 low-flow shower heads in FY 2008. Most of the new showerheads are 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm) models that were installed in Navy Region Southwest (NRSW). These showerheads use 40 percent less water than 2.5 gpm federal standard water-saving showerheads, and were tested extensively to ensure greatest user acceptance. Feedback has been very positive. The payback for 1.5 gpm showerheads is almost immediate in most locations.  

Faucet aerators: These add-on devices mix air with water to reduce the faucet’s water flow while improving the effectiveness of the spray for washing hands and other items. Over 5,000 1.0 gpm faucet aerators were installed last year in the metro San Diego area, primarily in bathroom sinks. Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek installed over 2,000 aerators with a maximum flow of 0.5 gpm, an adequate flow for hand-washing. Personnel are encouraged to use just the water they need for washing, brushing teeth, etc., but the aerators limit flow whenever the faucet is running.

One-pint-per-flush urinals: This promising technology has been installed at Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Ventura County, NAS Patuxent River and Naval Station Norfolk, among other sites. These urinals look and operate much like low-flow 1.0 gallon-per-flush (gpf) urinals and enjoy excellent user acceptance while saving seven-eighths gpf. These urinals are maintained the same as conventional urinals, avoiding the problems with maintenance contracts sometimes experienced with waterless urinals. 

Dual flush toilet flushometers: This feature allows flushing using either a standard 1.6 gallons of water or a reduced flow of one gallon. Although this technology can save water in restrooms without urinals, building occupants must be trained to use the low flush option when appropriate for the savings to occur. A few Navy toilets have been retrofit with dual-flush capability, but haven’t been monitored for occupant acceptance or water savings. The new LEED gold-eligible bachelor quarters at Naval Station Everett uses this technology. Savings are more certain with new residential dual flush models because residents can be trained at check-in, and the traditional action of pushing the lever down produces a low-flow flush.

Urinal flush valves: NAVFAC Hawaii retrofit the flush valves for 1.0 and 1.5 gpf urinals with replacement diaphragms that reduce water consumption to 0.5 gpf. It’s wise to check with the urinal manufacturer or test some fixtures to ensure adequate flushing with the reduced water flow. There have been no complaints at Pearl Harbor.

Low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves for commercial dishwashers: This low-cost, quick-payback measure typically saves half or more of the hot water used to pre-rinse dirty dishes, and has been implemented by several installations in the Southwest. Commercial dishwashing equipment is found in galleys, clubs, child development centers, food courts and on-base fast-food restaurants.

Automatic Freeze Protection Valves: Intermittent freezing can seriously damage or immobilize equipment, so water lines, pumps, valves and systems exposed to freezing temperatures require protection. Manually operated bleeder valves are an option but this method can waste water and may be subject to human error. Naval Base Kitsap commands installed low-cost, easy-to-install automatic freeze protection valves to protect water distribution to piers and dry docks, and are saving more than 230 million gallons of water each year.

Leak Detection and Repair: Water distribution systems can be major sources of water loss. The benefits of routine leak detection and repair include reduced water loss and lower pumping and treating costs. U.S. Naval Base Guam recently evaluated 150 miles of water distribution lines, and since repairing leaks, the base has saved more than 400,000 gallons of water per day.

Metering Data: The importance of metering data for both buildings and exterior water use cannot be over-stated.  Naval facilities in the San Diego area use such data to identify and correct consumption anomalies. The combination of good water management and projects such as those described above helped San Diego area Navy facilities to cut total water consumption by 22 percent from 2007 to 2009.