Tag Archives: water conservation

Increase Asset Value with Water Conservation Retrofit

It’s no surprise that multifamily properties often have high water consumption. Resident habits, pools, laundry rooms and sprinkler systems all contribute to increased usage and as a result – costly utility bills.

Common reasons for high water usage:

  • Residents often aren’t aware of leaks or don’t report them when discovered – 20% of all toilets leak at any given time.
  • Water conservation tips aren’t provided to residents (many residents see no relationship between the amount of water they use and their cost to live in the property).
  • Older fixtures.
  • Poor or aging plumbing.

Managing a property’s water expense varies based on the individual owner as well as city and state regulations. An owner may choose to invest in a submetering system that measures each unit’s actual consumption. If a submetering system is not an option or outside of the owner’s budget, an allocation method may be used to calculate usage and distribute charges among the residents. For some properties, such as affordable housing, residents are not billed for their water usage which can pose a heavy burden on already taxed budgets.  An effective water conservation program not only reduces consumption but has the potential to lower monthly water bills by up to 40%.

How an Affordable Housing Community Saved $500,000

An affordable housing client faced an increase in residents along with a decrease in funding and grant support. The management team decided it was time to explore solutions that would conserve both resources and dollars. The solution: Minol’s Water Conservation Program.

More than Shower Heads and Flappers

Minol developed the Water Conservation Program to minimize excessive water consumption within communities. This unique and innovative program utilizes a combination of high-quality components and a proven methodology developed more than 30 years ago.

The evaluation process to identify eligible properties is complimentary and begins with a Minol team member analyzing specific property survey information and 12 months of water usage. As the team identifies properties that need help, Minol rebuilds property components at its own expense through its Pay-Out-of-Savings Program. Minol’s investment is recovered through the savings generated, which is typically within 12 months. “The Pay-Out-of-Savings component was a key differentiator from other water conservation programs we had researched. We saw savings within months of implementing the program,” said a client representative.

Program Implementation and Results

The client provided property and water usage information for 162 properties with 15,007 units to Minol for evaluation. The Minol team identified 31 properties with 3,418 units that qualified for the program. The client chose to implement their water conservation plan in four phases. All toilets were retrofitted with highly-effective toilet flappers, while low-flow showerheads and aerators were also installed.

The team is very pleased with the results Minol’s Water Conservation program has yielded for their communities.


Will Your Property Qualify for Pay Out of Savings?

The criteria below are typical qualifiers. A simple survey and analysis can determine if your property qualifies. 

  • Property is older than 5 years
  • More than 100 units
  • Owner pays water (or water is allocated)
  • Water/sewer bills are more than $250 per unit annually

Water Rates Poised to Rise Further as Utility Debt Grows

Water rates, which for some U.S. customers have more than doubled since 2000, are probably going to increase in the short term as companies struggle with rising debt and the need to spend on infrastructure, according to a Columbia University report.

Utility debt increased on average 33 percent from 2000 to 2010, while water rates rose 23 percent, a report by Columbia’s Water Center concluded. For a third of the more than 1,000 utilities surveyed by the American Water Works Association, debt and rates gained more than 100 percent in the time period.

“The problem of escalating debt and rising rates is not a problem limited to a handful of poorly managed utilities, but includes many well-run utilities,” Ed Pinero, head of sustainability for North America at Veolia Environnement SA (VIE), said in a statement today. “Many of today’s water managers are operating in an old framework that needs to be re-examined for the 21st century.”

Water infrastructure in the U.S. needs at least $1 trillion in investment to repair and replace systems, according to a report released in March by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group gave U.S water infrastructure a barely passing D grade, citing almost 240,000 water main breaks annually and an average reservoir age of 52 years.

The report suggests companies should improve operational efficiency, focus on environmentally sustainable water sources and explore alternative rate structures.

Veolia Environnement, Europe’s largest water company, is one of several companies and organizations that fund the Water Center.

By Peter Ward – October 14, 2013

Bloomberg