Tidal Wave! Don't Let Water Costs Flood your Utility Budget
Water consumption in multifamily buildings can be staggering. In fact, our database of over 26,000 buildings shows that water costs account for one third of utility spending. Learn how to benchmark your water usage and see how targeted retrofits equate to big improvements on net operating income.
How to dam up unnecessary spending on your water usage.
As a property manager, you work hard to improve the efficiency of your portfolio by performing equipment retrofits and addressing problems with your HVAC systems. These energy management efforts may have led to impressive electricity and gas savings historically, but what about water costs? You’re not alone: water cost management is overlooked by many a property owner and manager.
All hope is not lost. Although water readings are typically done less frequently and online data can be hard to come by, water usage can be effectively monitored and inexpensive measures can be implemented to curb unnecessary waste and spending. Based on WegoWise data, water typically accounts for one-third of utility costs in multifamily buildings.
What can you do? Where do you start?
First, use your recent historical data to benchmark the water usage in your portfolio's buildings. By using gallons per bedroom per day as a metric of efficiency, it’s easy to identify the outliers. Boston Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recommends using 75 gallons/bedroom/day as a threshold to find poorly performing buildings, although multifamily building type may come into play. Determine your gallon-per-day usage by hand or use WegoWise to automate the analysis.
Once you’ve benchmarked your water usage and understand which buildings need attention, it’s time for action. Unlike gas and electricity conservation measures, water-related upgrades are often inexpensive with quick paybacks. Installing low-flow toilets, aerators, and EPA WaterSense showerheads can immediately lower your water bills, as can toilet retrofits or by simply replacing leaking toilet flappers. For more water conservation tips, use the City of Tampa's checklist that even addresses laundry and irrigation.
To ensure that these water efficiency measures deliver the expected results, monitoring ongoing usage is crucial. Quarterly data is good, but consider sub-metering buildings to access monthly data. In either scenario, monitoring for spikes helps you maximize savings over time.
By combining water benchmarking, smart retrofits, and continuous monitoring, your multifamily property can achieve significant cost reductions and increased NOI for years to come.