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New York City Water Challenge to Hotels

The New York City Water Challenge to Hotels, as it is officially known, was modeled after the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge and some of New York City’s largest hotels volunteered to participate in the challenge. The New York City Water Challenge asked New York City’s largest hotels to reduce their water usage per square foot, (also known as water use intensity) by 5% in one year. The baseline for comparison was the average daily water use per square foot, which was developed for each hotel utilizing all available water consumption data during a 12 month period prior to the start of the challenge.

The program was officially launched at the beginning of June 2013 with a Kick-Off Meeting where 11 hoteliers met with staff from DEP, the Mayor’s Office and green hospitality experts to discuss the details of the program. The Challenge required that participants:

  • Be responsible for tracking and monitoring water use.
  • Develop a Water Conservation Plan that mapped out a strategy to reduce water usage.
  • Implement the water conservation and water efficiency projects outlined in their Water Conservation Plans.

Some of the water saving strategies utilized by the participating hotels included:

  • Installing water efficient fixtures in guestrooms, public areas and kitchens.
  • Replaced water-cooling ice makers with air cooling ice makers.
  • Equipped cooling towers with monitoring equipment designed to reduce water usage.
  • Implemented a water conservation policy where employees and guests were encouraged to be more conscientious of their water consumption.

At the conclusion of the Challenge, May 2014, four hotels managed to reduce their demand by the targeted 5%. The four hotels were so successful in implementing their Water Conservation Plant that they managed to surpass the 5% goal and save more than 10% over the previous one year period.

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