Mar 09, 2009

WSP Environmental to Launch Water Footprint Tool

Consultancy to follow new water footprinting service with tool to help designers calculate products' environmental impact

WSP Environmental is launching a new service, modelled on the company's existing carbon footprinting service, designed to help firms measure the water footprint of their operations and products, BusinessGreen reported.

The service will provide an overview of how much water firms are responsible for through their own operations, their supply chain and the downstream use of their products.

David Symons, director at the company, said that in addition to showing firms which elements of a product's lifecycle account for the most energy use, the new service would also help firms prioritize water-saving initiatives.

"Unlike carbon, the impact of water use depends on where you are using it," he explained. "So the new toolkit doesn't just look at how much water you are using, it also looks at whether you are using it in water-stressed areas and helps firms decide where they should target their efforts."

Symons said that WSP's new EcoflyOnline site allowed designers to quickly gain an overview of their products’ environmental footprint and guidance on whether or not it will comply with the EU's impending Energy-using Products (EuP) directive.

"It is essentially a database that designers put the bill of materials for their product, the operating assumptions, stand-by power use and life expectancy into," he explained. "It then calculates the end-to-end carbon, water and waste footprint and whether or not it is compliant."

The company is now working on an expanded version of the service that similarly allows designers of non-electrical products to gain an insight into their product's potential environmental footprint and where they could achieve carbon savings, Symons said.