The cost savings and ROI associated with onsite water reuse systems

In a world where efficiency is paramount, building owners and architects are often turning to innovative solutions to reduce costs and the environmental impact their building has on its community. Onsite water reuse systems can offer not just environmental benefits but also significant return on investment (ROI) and cost savings over time.

When Epic Cleantec engages with new projects about the desire to include onsite water reuse systems in the design, the first few questions we encounter are typically about the ROI and costs associated with reuse technology. For every project, we conduct a free assessment that includes a water balance to determine the impact a reuse system can have, both financially and through water savings. In this assessment we examine the project’s location, size, program, and goals. We also identify any available incentives or grants for the location that can help offset initial capital investment. Learn more about how we determine if onsite water reuse is right for a project.

The ROI of water reuse

There are many factors that will make a difference in a system’s ROI, including regulations, market fit and more. Epic’s solutions offer a predictable and often lower cost for water compared to traditional municipal supply, with ROI achieved in as few as 10 years. This is particularly compelling as water and sewer rates across the country have outpaced inflation by nearly 300% over the last two decades. 

Example of ROI payback period for greywater or blackwater onsite reuse system vs. municipal supply only

Below are few other advantages you can expect from implementing an onsite water reuse system in your next project:

  1. Reduced water costs: The most immediate benefit of onsite water reuse systems is a substantial reduction of freshwater entering the building, resulting in lower water bills for the building owner. Epic’s OneWaterTM system reuses 50-95% of a building’s wastewater for non-potable purposes such as irrigation, toilet flushing, or cooling systems, lowering the demand for new fresh water supply and leading to cost savings over time.
  2. Mitigation of sewage fees: Municipalities charge sewer fees based on the volume of water discharged into the centralized sewer system. By reusing water onsite, less water is discharged, further contributing to cost savings and improved financial efficiency.
  3. Regulatory compliance: Many regions are imposing stricter regulations and fees related to water usage and disposal. San Francisco’s onsite reuse ordinance and Austin’s GoPurple program are examples of these initiatives. Investing in onsite water reuse helps owners comply with these regulations and also prevents them from potential fines and penalties.
  4. Conservation rebates and incentives: To the opposite effect, many regions offer rebates, incentives, or grants to encourage water conservation practices. Epic Cleantec will help projects take advantage of these funding opportunities to further reduce the initial capital investment required for implementing water reuse technologies.
  5. Resilience to water supply challenges: Water scarcity and water quality issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in many regions due to factors such as population growth, climate change, and aging infrastructure. Building owners and developers can mitigate risks associated with water supply disruptions by implementing water reuse systems, ensuring a reliable onsite water source.
  6. Energy savings: Onsite water treatment and recycling often require less energy compared to centralized water treatment plants. This leads to reduced energy costs and a smaller carbon footprint, aligning with broader sustainability goals.
  7. LEED and Green Building certifications: Incorporating water reuse systems into building designs can contribute to achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or other green building certifications. Epic’s full resource recovery solution can earn projects up to 24 LEED points.

LEED points available through onsite water reuse, soil and energy recovery.

Graph of possible LEED points available through Epic’s water reuse, solids capture and heat recovery solutions

Other benefits and long-term effects

  1. Enhanced property value: Sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly practices are increasingly influencing property valuations. Properties equipped with efficient water reuse systems enhance the building’s sustainability credentials and are seen as more attractive to environmentally conscious investors. In fact, 34% of the population is willing to pay more for sustainable products or services.
  2. Risk mitigation: Investing in water reuse infrastructure provides long-term cost stability by reducing the dependence on external water sources that come with the risk of fluctuating municipal water rates. Onsite water reuse systems offer a degree of independence and resilience, mitigating these risks and ensuring continuity of operations.
  3. Potential for marketing and branding: Building owners and developers can leverage their investment in water reuse as a marketing tool to differentiate their properties in the market. Highlighting sustainable practices such as water reuse can be used to appeal to potential tenants, investors, and residents who prioritize environmental responsibility.

Success stories in action

Epic has seen all types of projects reap the benefits of water reuse, from multifamily to hospitality and commercial office spaces. Here are a few examples:

  • Fifteen Fifty: This 40-story luxury apartment building is home to the first permitted and approved onsite greywater operation in San Francisco’s city history. Operated and maintained by Epic, the onsite water reuse system has the capacity to recycle 7,500 gallons of greywater per day (or over 2.5 million gallons per year) and will save Related more than $90,000 annually on utility costs over the next 10 years.
  • Salesforce Tower: This 61-story office building located in San Francisco is home to the largest onsite blackwater system in a commercial high-rise in the U.S., designed to recycle up to 30,000 gallons of wastewater per day. It will reuse 7.8 million gallons of freshwater per year and save $395,000 in utility fees annually.
  • Waldorf Astoria: The award-winning Waldorf Astoria hotel located in Beverly Hills, CA will reuse over 438,000 gallons of water per year for use in landscaping with Epic Cleantec’s OneWaterTM system. Although it has a smaller daily reuse capacity of 1,200 gallons per day, it will still save hotel owners nearly $10,000 in utility fees annually.

Investing in sustainability and savings

Onsite water reuse systems represent a paradigm shift in water management, offering tangible financial benefits alongside environmental stewardship. The initial investment in these systems can be countered by the long-term ROI, cost savings, and strategic advantages they bring. As projects navigate the challenges of resource scarcity and regulatory pressures, embracing water reuse technologies is not just a prudent choice but a strategic imperative for sustainable growth and competitiveness.


Learn more about our solutions and get in touch with Epic Cleantec today!

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