At a Glance



Project Type




Basking Ridge, NJ

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Bruk Berhanu refined the baseline for Verizon’s corporate water use and identified water-saving opportunities in the process.


Verizon Communications, a $200 billion telecommunications company with operations around the world, enlisted Bruk Berhanu to help characterize and reduce its corporate water use. With help from an EDF Climate Corps fellow from the year before, an effort to quantify the company’s global water use was initiated and water use was estimated for 2013. Berhanu was tasked with refining the estimation method used to determine Verizon’s annual water use for 2011 through 2014. The ultimate goals was to understand trends in Verizon’s corporate water use and use this information to establish a corporate water baseline and accompanying reduction goal. Additionally, Berhanu was asked to provide support for an ongoing water reduction project within Verizon’s central offices as well as identify and evaluate potential reductions in administrative office buildings. 


After gaining and understanding the current method of water-use estimation and identifying the key sources of data and contacts, Berhanu developed a method to integrate Verizon’s real estate asset data with utility data to provide a complete snapshot of annual corporate water use from 2011 to 2014, with enough resolution to identify the largest water users within the portfolio. Using this list, Berhanu then selected five administrative offices with the highest water use and deployed the WaterMAPP scorecard tool to identify areas of improvement for each building. At Verizon’s corporate headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ, Berhanu recommended a pilot project to install sub-metering devices for the various water supply lines so that sources of water waste could be identified and corrected. The results of this pilot could then be used to inform sub-metering decisions on similar administrative campuses. He also investigated the possibility of replacing current low-flush urinals with waterless models, for additional water savings. Finally, Berhanu identified seven sites that could see the highest financial return for an ongoing project in which cooling systems for cable dehydrator equipment are retrofitted with closed-loop glycol chillers instead of once-through water cooling. 

Potential Impact

Berhanu’s analysis showed that Verizon was on course to reduce corporate water use by 10 percent, or almost 300 million gallons, by 2020. Therefore, he recommended establishing the year 2014 as the baseline for comparison when reporting future reductions in water use, and suggested an absolute reduction goal of 450 million gallons by 2020. This goal took into account Verizon's natural water use reduction as well as water reduction projects that would be implemented by 2020. The seven sites identified for the chiller system installation could save $2.4 million in net costs over a 10-year horizon and produce annual water savings of over 60 million gallons.

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