Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

Help shape the future of business support on Giving feedback through our short survey only takes a few minutes.

Water is a precious natural resource that businesses should manage in the same way as other resources.

A large bit of water consumption comes from guest bathrooms and public washrooms. And the cost of water is only going up, mainly due to rising energy costs.

1. Water efficient taps

Water efficient taps aim to provide high performance while reducing the amount of water used. We recommend that a qualified plumber carries out or supervises any improvements.

Types of water efficient taps

  • Aerated taps

    You can retrofit tap aerators inside existing taps. These devices mix air with the water, producing the same force of flow. Costing as little as £5 per unit, you'll see a return on your investment in about three months.

  • Spray taps

    Spray taps work by forcing water through small holes in the tap outlet, thus producing a mist or spray. Spray taps can reduce water use by between 60% and 70% compared to conventional taps. But you'll need to check the spray head regularly for fouling from soap, grease and lime scale.

  • Automatic shut-off taps

    Automatic shut-off taps turn off the tap after a certain time. This makes them particularly useful in public areas, such as visitor attractions, holiday parks, or public toilets. The main types of automatic shut-off taps are:

    • Percussion taps

    Percussion or push taps are self-closing taps that close after they have been operating for a pre-set time, generally between 1 and 30 seconds. To be most efficient, push taps need to be well maintained to ensure correct operation.

    Percussion taps cost around £20 each and can reduce water use by over 50%, compared with conventional taps. They can come in kits that simply fit onto existing standard tap bodies without the need to get new taps.

    • Passive infrared sensors for taps

    This sensor will automatically open the tab while visitors use it. Once a pre-set amount of water is used up, the tap will close.

  • Did you know?

    Repairing a dripping tap could save more than 5,000 litres of water a year. Finding and repairing four dripping taps could save you £42 per year in water costs alone, often for the cost of fitting a new washer. Make sure to check your taps regularly.

2. Water efficient showers

Typically, a conventional shower uses 35 litres (for a 5-minute shower), costing you around £65 per year if used once per day. Power showers use 70 litres (for a 5-minute shower) and increase the annual cost to around £130.

There are water efficient showerheads that reduce water consumption without damaging customer experience. You only have to make sure that there's adequate water pressure.

You can reduce the amount of shower water by:

  • using a "water saving" showerhead
  • installing a flow restrictor in the pipework upstream of the shower fitting or in the shower head
  • using a push button to control water use (applicable in public showers such as in changing rooms, leisure facilities, and holiday parks)

  • Did you know?

    By placing an aerator in a showerhead, you can reduce water usage by up to 70%.

3. Hot water

Make sure to set appropriate hot water temperatures. Excessive heating of hot water is wasteful, expensive and could scald staff or guests. The best temperature for stored hot water is 60ºC.

This is adequate to kill legionella bacteria and is sufficiently warm for staff and guests to use.

Even without a water meter, your business can still save energy and reduce costs by using less hot water. Wasting hot water is basically the same as throwing money down the drain. The following table provides an indication of the additional cost of hot water against the base water supply costs.

Typical water costs


Mains supply only


Mains supply and wastewater treatment


Hot water (60°C) gas heated

£2.82 – £3.98/m3

Hot water (60°C) electrically heated

£6.48 – £7.64/m3

4. Further advice

Related links