Ecology Action Wins Water Conservation Award
In 2016 Ecology Action’s WaterLink program provided free turnkey water-energy upgrades to residents and businesses in Santa Clara County. Over 75% of their services were in neighborhoods that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and poverty. 42% of Ecology Action’s residential team and 36% of their overall delivery team live in disadvantaged neighborhoods served by the program. Ecology Action was one of only 21 organizations statewide to receive funding from the California Department of Water Resources’ 2014 Water-Energy Grant, allowing them to launch WaterLink. In 2016, their door-to-door multilingual teams installed low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in 2,678 homes, and are on target to serve 6,000 households by the end of 2017. Ecology Action installed low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators in 1,121 restaurants and grocery stores, resulting in an average water savings of 37,000 gallons per year at each site. Future projects include converting 50,000 square feet of turf at schools and community centers to climate-appropriate landscapes with water-efficient irrigation systems, installing ozone laundry systems at nursing facilities and hotels to reduce overall water use by 25-35% and hot water use by 85-95%, installing hot water heaters in single family homes and upgrading hot water recirculation pump controls and clothes washers in apartments. Based on calculations approved by the California Department of Water Resources, in 2016 Ecology Action saved 148 million gallons of water, 30 million kWh of energy and 8.7 million kg of greenhouse gases (CO2e).