Case Study: Water Conservation Best Practices

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Last week we wrote about water performance in multifamily buildings and mentioned the deep savings opportunities around water conservation. This week we want to highlight a progressive building owner who took the time to figure out which of their buildings were performing poorly, get a water audit and then enact the recommendations of the audit. 

United Housing: Conserving Water and Saving Money 

In 2009 United Housing Management LLC asked WegoWise and New Ecology to look into their Blue Mountain development and find opportunities for energy and water efficiency improvements. An analysis of the development identified many problem areas but one particular water hog we want to highlight is 68 Cheney St.


68 Cheney St. is a 12,000 sqft three story masonry walk-up in Dorchester MA built circa 1920.

The graph below shows just how much water 68 Cheney was using compared to similar low-rise apartment buildings in Dorchester. The green line represents the median usage from 80 low-rise apartment buildings in the same neighborhood. The blue line is 68 Cheney's water usage.  

WegoWise Water Use Conservation resized 600

Digging into the numbers we can see that in April 2009 68 Cheney used 202 Gallons/Bedroom/Day (GBD), way above where efficient buildings perform and nearly 100 GBD above similar buildings in Dorchester. Right away we knew there was an opportunity for significant water savings. New Ecology performed an on-site water audit and identified malfunctioning flapper valves in toilets, leaky aerators and high-usage shower heads. Their audit report suggested replacing the toilets and installing low-flow faucets and shower heads. The upgrades cost United Housing about $2,000 dollars and showed immediate results. 

WegoWise Water Conservation Graph 68 Cheney resized 600

United Housing continues to monitor water use in 68 Cheney and has been saving nearly $1,200/month as a result of their water conservation work. They have since expanded on the efforts at 68 Cheney and implemented the same retrofits in other buildings in the Blue Mountain development. 

By analyzing usage data, identifying the neediest building, following audit recommendations and continuing to monitor their investments, United Housing is truly a standout in water conservation best practices. 

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