Results are in for the City of Guelph’s Multi-Residential Water Audit Program (MRWA), a program that provides water audits for multi-residential buildings to help identify opportunities for saving water and money, and it comes with both good and bad news.
The good news; there are many opportunities to reduce water use and save a lot of money. The bad news; there’s a lot of water being wasted.
From our findings, here is what you can do to save money and water:
Repairing leaks = save money
Leaks have shown to be the biggest culprit for unnecessary water loss and found to be an issue for every building that was audited. Leaks reported to make up 2 – 16 per cent of buildings’ total water use. Regardless of the size of the leak, costs do add up over time, but are typically an easy, low-cost fix. Repairs to leaks are usually payed back in under four months, saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and litres of water in the first year alone.
Stop flushing your money down the toilet
Toilets use the most water in all residences. Many buildings have made the switch from the older six – 13 litre toilets to three litre toilets and quickly realized the water and money saving benefits. Though a building-wide upgrade may come with a hefty up-front cost, replacing toilets to a three-litre can come with a 20 per cent return on investment (or more!). Those who made the upgrade also found that buying in bulk cut their costs even more and in many cases lowered the payback periods to five years or less.
What’s more is that the City can help reduce upgrade payback periods through various rebate programs like the City’s Royal Flush Rebate.
Sub-metering helps save water
It comes as no surprise that there are opportunities for reducing water consumption in multi-residential buildings across Guelph and beyond. In most cases, costs associated with water use are embedded in condo fees or the cost of rent. While this is a common practice, the unintended consequence is higher water use. As a result, some properties are moving toward sub-metering and billing individual suites. Sub-metering has proven to be an effective way to reduce water consumption as it provides accountability and ownership to water use, which is why the City offers a rebate for that, too!
The bottom line…
Whether fixing leaks, replacing a toilet or sub-metering a multi-tenant building, efficiency measures can be used to keep condo fees low for your residents. For some, it may also be an opportunity to reduce fees or leverage support for future efficiency projects. For property management it may buffer the need to adjust to the fluctuations in utility costs in years to come. It may also be an effective strategy to keep tenants happy and reduce turnover. Now that’s a win-win situation.
Steve Yessie is a Water Efficiency Program Coordinator with the City of Guelph. He coordinates the Multi-Residential Water Audit Program and the Sub-Water Meter Rebate Program. Feel free to contact Steve by phone at 519.822.1250 ext. 2189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Our thanks to Steve Yessie for submitting this article! If you have a blog article you would like to submit get started here!