Water Safety and Efficiency in Hospitality Buildings

Back-of-house water systems can impact guest satisfaction throughout a facility
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Sponsored by WATTS Water Technologies, Inc.
By Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Water System Design, Construction, and Operation

With an understanding of the range of water system-related issues in a hospitality project, there are several things to keep in mind when engaged in them. During design, information is needed on the water supply, its hardness, and any contaminant concerns. Similarly, the proper information on water demand in the facility is needed to correctly calculate the needs and size the water system equipment. This step is important because systems tend to be oversized, making them more costly and less efficient. This usually means engaging a consulting mechanical engineer well versed in these issues, but it can also mean partnering with a manufacturers technical team to understand the capabilities and limitations of available systems. Together, the focus should be on designing the right system for a facility, not just looking at individual pieces of equipment or components.

design, construction, and operation of a complete water system solution for a hospitality facility

Taking a holistic approach to the design, construction, and operation of a complete water system solution for a hospitality facility reaps the best benefits for all involved.

Once the water system is installed, the owners and managers of hospitality buildings are appropriately concerned about smooth operations. Therefore, specifying a system where the suppliers are able to provide full and quick response to any issues that may come up can be seen as critical. Similarly, the ease of the system to be repaired and maintained with readily available personnel and replacement parts helps assure that system down time is avoided or minimized. A full warranty on all materials, equipment, and even labor will help assure an owner or maintenance staff that they have some assurance of smooth operations. In some cases, off site monitoring of the water system may be possible which, when tied with routine preventative maintenance, can help assure proper, safe, and efficient water operations for the life of the building.

Taking this holistic approach toward the design, construction, and operation of the water system produces multiple benefits for the facility owner and staff. First, optimal performance can be sought that assures the proper amount and temperature of water is provided when and where it is needed without wasting energy or water. Second, it achieves greater reliability so downtime can be minimized so guests aren’t inconvenienced or critical systems can’t function. These benefits lead to capital preservation for the owners through savings on operating expenses and full availability of income-generating guest rooms and other facilities. It can also help considerably with the management of the reputation of the property—problems with something as basic as water, safety, and comfort can drive guests away rather than appeal to them.


Hospitality facilities need well-designed, properly installed, and reliable plumbing systems to meet their needs for hot and cold water supply and drainage. There are clearly many choices available to create such systems that are high performing, safe, and efficient. Design professionals who can work together with specialists in this area can optimize the water solutions for specific hospitality facilities of all types and sizes.

Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is a nationally known architect, sustainability consultant, technical writer, and continuing education presenter. www.pjaarch.com, www.linkedin.com/in/pjaarch

Bentley Mills logo. Watts is a global leader in the design and manufacture of innovative water solutions for residential, commercial, and institutional environments. Products include an extensive line of flow control, filtration, and treatment products for water quality and residential plumbing and heating. Founded in 1874, Watts is headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts. www.watts.com


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in March 2018