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Owners and managers of multi-family buildings who have installed submetering and leak detection systems see their water usage in those properties decrease by almost 50 percent.
In addition to saving on utility costs and improving property values, this sophisticated submetering system can also help them earn valuable points and fulfill requirements in the Water Efficiency (WE) category under LEED v4, the international standard that incentivizes environmental building practices managed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Water Efficiency Under LEED v4
Among other categories describing green practices, the fourth and latest version of the LEED rating system, LEED v4, stipulates requirements and offers points for deploying water conservation measures in different areas of building projects. In each of these areas, the WE category presents an ideal opportunity for employing H2O Degree’s submetering and leak detection to reduce a building’s water consumption.
The areas in which prerequisites and credits for the WE category apply include Building Design and Construction; Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance; Interior Design and Construction; and Home Design and Construction.
With utilities representing the single largest controllable cost for a multi-family and commercial property, building owners and managers are increasingly turning to submetering systems that give them both visualization and control of water usage.
H2O Degree’s approach to reducing water consumption includes a combination of two-way wireless mesh technology, water meters and daily water meter usage monitoring and leak-detection reporting. This approach is proving to be effective in cutting water consumption in apartment buildings by about half. The system is based on the ability to remotely assess tenants’ water usage using a convenient web-based portal and by accurately pinpointing — and prompting the repair of — water leaks.
Wireless Leak Detection
The two-way mesh submetering system is designed to detect and report water leaks for a single apartment down to individual point-of-use entry locations, such as toilets and showers, throughout the property (see table).
Unlike typical water meters installed in apartments to track water by gallons used, the H2O Degree battery-powered wireless water meter also monitors “events” such as stop/start and flushes along with the time duration of the water flow. These water meters can monitor up to 9 gal/min. at an extremely high accuracy rate, plus or minus 1 percent, which meets or exceeds current American Water Works Association accuracy standards.
The system uses cloud-based leak detection reporting. Working in tandem with wireless water meters, the web-based leak detection reports help building owners dramatically cut their average daily consumption (ADC). Based on H2O Degree’s field experience in leak reporting, the ADC reduction can be as much as 50 percent in some cases.
Since the water meter’s granular insight about the event enables managers to deduce its cause (i.e., when they install a toilet, it distinguishes among a broken flapper, broken chain or cracked fill valve), they can quickly send an email or text to maintenance staff to fix the problem. Meanwhile, asset managers can access the online leak reports to track the building’s historical water consumption information as well as maintenance response times and follow up.
Leak detection reports are sortable by serial number, property, apartment, point-of-use and leak size. The company emails daily leak reports through its automated system where the customer (building manager) can assign them to as many as 10 recipients.
The reports are stored on a secure server in near real-time. An easy-to-use dashboard features a variety of user selections including billing data, exception reports, a configurable reporting function and alarms. Aside from leak detection, the system also provides insight into reducing vacant utility costs, indicates over-occupancy and limits the possibility of passing a high water bill caused by leaks onto the tenant, thus improving the tenant experience at the property.
H2O Degree’s submetering system is designed to drive both tenants and property managers to make behavioral changes. Tenants are incentivized to conserve water since they are held accountable for their usage, and property managers can take proactive water-saving maintenance measures since they receive daily leak detection reports.
This comprehensive approach is proving to be an effective way to reduce water consumption to comply with LEED v4 requirements — as well as accruing coveted credits for water efficiency.
For a free site evaluation, contact H2O Degree at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-788-8485.