April 24, 2023

10 tips to make your plumbing business more sustainable in 2024

droplet pipe plant

So you want to make your plumbing business more sustainable. Good on you.

In 2024 the state of the environment is at a critical level.

Even in the UK, we’ve seen a record number of wildfires with 3 times the number recorded than the previous year. Flooding is 40% more likely, putting strain on local sewage systems, and we’ve even experienced droughts and hose pipe bans with a genuine risk of reaching water provision limits.

As a plumber, there is a responsibility to seek out better, more environmentally sustainable solutions and look for ways to reduce water waste.

To do this, plumbing businesses need to take a look at themselves and see how they can make improvements to reduce their environmental impact.

To help you get there, we’ve put together a list of actionable tips you can take to become more sustainable.

1. Reduce energy usage

The first thing to look at is the obvious stuff, what are you doing in your business to save on energy?

As any business should, it’s important to make sure you’re switching off lights and appliances when they’re not in use.

If you’re heading out to a job, even for half an hour, turn your appliances off.

This is even more important overnight. Before you lock up for the night do a quick sweep to make sure nothing has been left on. You could even set up a rota, making sure your whole team is accountable for their energy usage.

You should also look at installing energy-efficient lightbulbs. Just by making this change, you could save up to 90% of your previous energy bulb usage.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle (waste)

The 3 R’s, when targeted together can have a massive impact on the sustainability of your plumbing business. Let's break them down:


Reducing your waste is one of the most important steps you can take towards becoming a greener business.

Currently, construction alone produces approximately a third of the world's waste and over 40% of the world's carbon emissions. If we take the plumbing industry’s percentage, this equates to around 13 and a half million tons of waste every year.

To reduce this number, consider ways you can cut down your own waste. A good place to start is by avoiding packaging.

Where possible, try to purchase products with minimal packaging or contact your suppliers to see how you can reduce packaging down the supply line.

You may, for example, be able to reduce excess waste by buying in bulk.

Triton Showers have had great success with this, setting their suppliers the target of using only returnable packaging. They also set a zero-waste-to-landfill target by 2018, something they achieved ahead of time.


Consider opportunities to reuse materials.

If you’re fitting a section of pipping or replacing some valves, get into the habit of checking the state of the olf fitting. It may be that some of these materials can be repaired and repurposed for further use.

For pipes in particular, make sure you take the correct measurements, don’t take more than you need and try to get the most out of the materials you’ve got.

Even if you have a short section of pipe left, hang onto it and see if you can use it on later jobs.

Further still, where possible, look for reusable packaging options that the suppliers can continue to use without producing waste.


The options for recycling in the plumbing industry are much better than you might expect.

Many of the materials used in plumbing can be melted down and reused, or recycled via other methods.

When it comes to recycling piping, a great material to use is copper. Copper pipes are a great option as they can be easily recycled without compromising the quality of the material. They also last longer and are more resistant to degradation.

Even plastic piping is recyclable. Most recycling centres accept PVC and HDPE plastic - just make sure you separate it from your plastic bags and bottles.

Polypipe for example recycled 44,700 tonnes of plastic in 2018 and are using a particular type of pipe that contains a minimum of 50% recycled material.

3. Green Transport

How you get from A to B can have a big impact on your carbon and environmental footprint.

Rather than using a large petrol or diesel vehicle to get to work every day, consider using a bicycle or explore public transport options.

If that’s not possible organise a car share and encourage the rest of your team to group together for transport.

During the working day, you may use a van or even a whole fleet. Consider investing in an electric van; currently, the government is running a scheme that will give you 35% off the price, making it far more affordable to make the switch.

Just by going electric, in one year you will save an average of around 1.5 million grams of CO2.

If you’re really committed and based in an urban area, you could even quit the vans altogether and operate on bikes.

One plumber is doing just that. Sam from Nippy Checks has set up a plumbing business that operates entirely on electric bikes and is seeing great success.

4. Offer green solutions to your customers

A big part of being a green plumbing business is about offering green technology to your customers. Where possible suggest options that are more efficient and more sustainable.

An added benefit of this is it becomes easier to charge higher prices, as these more premium products command a higher value. Customers are usually open to spending more if they understand the value of the technology you are offering.

Here are some great examples of technology that is available today.

Dual flush toilets

  • Reduce water usage by 7- 9 litres every flush. But beware of leaks, those using drop valve systems can lose a lot of water.

Upflush toilets

  • These efficient toilets save up to 13 litres of water every flush.

Flow-optimised shower-heads

  • Low-flow shower-heads reduce water consumption by up to 60% and cut CO2 by about 0.155 tonnes.

Tankless water heaters

  • These heaters are 24% - 34% more energy efficient than storage heaters and last nearly twice as long.

Faucet aerators

  • Using aerators on taps can cut water usage by up to half.

Filtration systems

  • Reduces the demand for plastic water bottles and works in conjunction with rainwater capture.

Rainwater capture

  • Captured rainwater can cover up to 50% of a household's water usage, plus it reduces carbon emissions by reducing reliance on mains water.

Greywater reuse

  • Greywater accounts for around 30-50% of all wastewater that enters sewers. By recycling this water, consumption can be reduced by 40%.

Sewer lateral replacement

  • Installing modern, more efficient sewers will reduce wastewater and prevent leakage and contamination into the soil.

Installing modern, more efficient sewers will reduce wastewater and prevent leakage and contamination into the soil.

Making sure you are up-to-date and informed on how to install these technologies will allow you to enable green practices amongst your customers.

Consider how these tools can be used both in the domestic setting and in public businesses.

Heat pumps

Ground and air source heat pumps are rapidly growing in popularity as they provide long-lasting, zero-emission energy.

As a plumber or heating engineer, it is important to get up to date on the latest practices.

When it comes to installing heat pumps, they are an important string to add to your bow.

Not only do these installs allow you to promote and encourage the use of green energy solutions amongst the customers you serve, they are also a great way to make money.

In fact, heat pump installers typically make between 25-50k per year, just from installs alone.

5. Stay local

We understand that sometimes this is easier said than done. Depending on where you’re based sometimes it’s necessary to travel to get the best rates or even find any work at all.

However, where possible you should look to work in the local area.

Try to maximise the number of customers you serve on your doorstep and really focus your marketing towards your local area.

If you need help with this, we’ve got a helpful blog going into the detail on how to optimise your marketing in your area.

Take the time to plan your work carefully; if you can, try to group jobs together based on their proximity to each other so that you can minimise the distance you have to travel.

To make this process easier, consider investing in a CRM solution, as this will allow you to far easier visualise and track your ongoing and upcoming work.

One great top tip you can use next time you’re working in someone's home is to bring a bunch of flyers or business cards with you. Once you’ve finished the job, post a flyer through the door of each house next door to the one you worked on.

6. Pipe insulation

It may sound simple, but just adding insulation to your pipes has a massive impact on energy conservation and the reduction of carbon emissions. By using pipe lagging you can reduce heat losses by up to 90% and save as much as £300 a year in energy bills.

That’s a massive impact!

Additionally, taking the time to insulate pipes for your customers also helps to protect against pipe freezing and damage to the plumbing network.

You should make it a standard part of your service, that all new piping is fitted with lagging.

Not only does this help your business's sustainability mission, but it also gives your customers extra value making them more likely to recommend your services.

7. Flood and leak prevention

On average a single leaky toilet will waste between 215 and 400 litres of water per day. That means in two months one toilet will have wasted the equivalent of a standard-sized swimming pool in water.

As plumbers, by being attentive to leaks and resolving these issues for customers you are contributing to a greener society.

This is a great opportunity for you to shed a light on some of these issues while also marketing your business.

As a part of the solution don’t just sell repairs but also help with prevention. When repairing leaks you should suggest installing leak prevention technology (something like the FloLogic leak detector) further reducing waste.

You can also help homes that have a flood risk. Use your expertise to offer customers advice and support on how to prevent flooding. When this does occur, you can also help to mitigate and fix the damage.

Not only does this work help prevent water wastage and energy loss, but preventing flooding is an important part of preserving local ecology. Flooding increases sewage contamination and damage to wildlife, so just by working to prevent floods you are helping the enviroment.

8. Increase your business efficiency

A big part of reducing your environmental impact comes down to efficiency savings. If you are 5% more efficient in everything you do then that will add up to a massive amount.

A great way to do this is to invest in the tools that will allow you to manage your business more effectively.

A CRM like Payaca allows you to make efficiency savings across your whole business by connecting up all the dots between the different parts of your plumbing operation.

From processing new customers to managing your team to quoting and invoicing, everything is seamlessly managed. Further, still, you can even automate many of your processes.

By making this investment you will be able to get more done in less time allowing you to get more out of the resources you have and reduce your environmental impact. Plus you’ll generate more revenue along the way.

And if you’re one of those businesses that still run everything on paper, then by making the upgrade, you’ll be saving on paper too.

9. Use sustainable materials

Think carefully about the materials you use.

Taking the time to check the materials you use and looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional products, will have a big impact on your ecological footprint.

As we mentioned earlier, some materials are much more easily recycled than others or may be more resistant to damage and corrosion.

Having a better understanding of how the materials you use are produced and disposed of is a really important part of becoming a sustainable business.

For example, Vaillant’s flagship boiler, the ecoTEC, is made from 75% recycled plastic, while Viessmann’s newest factory is CO2-neutral.

10. Educate your customers

Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a plumbing or heating business is to educate your customers on sustainable best practices.

As experts in plumbing and heating, you have the knowledge and expertise on how the general public can make their homes more sustainable.

Even small tips and pieces here and there, such as encouraging customers to reduce the max temperature of their boiler systems or keep their shower to under 5 minutes, can have a lasting impact.

The more customers you educate and the more you’re able to influence and enable green behaviour, the greater and more far-reaching your impact will be.

By making changes to your business you can make a small contribution towards a better future, by educating your customers your impact will be far greater and far more lasting into the future.

Your future

At the end of the day, even if you are only able to implement a small number of these tips, small changes applied consistently over a long period of time, will have a really important impact on the world around you.

It’s great that you want to make your plumbing business more sustainable, so don’t hesitate, start making the changes today.