Air conditioning is essential to surviving Southern Nevada’s desert heat, especially in summer. Many businesses use evaporative cooling systems to lower indoor temperatures, but these systems soak up a lot of water in the cooling process.
The second largest consumer of the community’s water supply, evaporative cooling systems are prohibited in new construction for projects applying for building permits after Sept. 1, 2023. While evaporative systems used for existing buildings may continue to operate, businesses are finding ways to install new technologies that make the systems more water efficient.
“Resorts World is a great example of a company upgrading evaporative cooling technology to save water,” said Patrick Watson, SNWA Conservation Services Administrator.
The 3,500-room hotel installed a new controller for its cooling towers, improving water efficiency by better controlling and monitoring of the system’s operations.
“With the new controller, Resorts World can cycle water more efficiently and replace it less often, saving more than 18 million gallons of water a year,” Watson said, adding that the resort took advantage of SNWA’s Water Efficient Technologies (WET) rebate to help pay for some of the costs associated with the upgrade.
The WET rebate offers financial incentives to commercial and multifamily property owners who install water-efficient devices and technologies. Properties can earn up to $500,000 in cash incentives for replacing cooling towers and swamp coolers with dry-cooled systems. Currently, Clark County is supplementing the SNWA rebate for consumptive use technologies through a grant (while funding is available).
“Dry cooled systems often use more energy than evaporative cooling systems, but dry cooling is more water efficient” Watson said, acknowledging one of the reasons some property owners have not pursued other cooling options. “We can always generate more power, but we can’t always create more water. Protecting our water supply during this megadrought is essential to our community’s long-term sustainability.”