In today’s world of rising costs and environmentalism, water conservation should be central to a property’s sustainability and budget goals. To that end, water sub-metering is fast becoming a method of choice among Canada’s industry stakeholders who wish to reduce their property’s impact on the environment and to their bottom line.
“Canada is one of the highest per capita water users in the world, using on average 328 litres per person, per day,” explains Andrew Beacom with Priority Submetering Solutions. “Sub-metering, or ‘suite metering’, encourages residents to conserve through a user-pay system and creates a responsibility for each resident to take its own consumption into consideration. You don’t pay your neighbour’s grocery bill, so why would you share in the cost of their water bill?”
There are certainly benefits to suite metering; especially when one takes the long-term view. Encouraging water conservation reduces stress on the building’s infrastructure (i.e. plumbing), thereby preventing the early onset of costly repairs that property management would have to pay for over time.
From a cost-management perspective, suite metering equipment can be obtained through financing, meaning no capital costs are required to get started. Once installed, property managers/owners can also use the meters to identify areas of high-use and possible leaks. This, says Beacom, helps to offset the sting of rising water prices, explaining, “Water and sewage rates across local municipalities are increasing in part due to aging infrastructure, which can cause more leaks. In fact, 10 per cent of water use per person, per day is due to household leaks on items like taps, toilets and pipes. That’s why we also provide leak and tamper detection for all units where suite metering is occurring.”
Residents also have much to gain from suite metering. On one hand, removing water utility costs from maintenance fees gives them a greater perspective on their water usage habits and allows for them to control costs. On the other, monitoring individual suites ensures residents are not subsidizing “higher users”, which is typically the case with traditional bulk metering.
“Suite metering is the only fair way to allocate utility expenses in a building,” insists Beacom. “Lower users will see the benefit because they will no longer pay to subsidize the cost of higher utility users. Higher users will also be able to see how much their usage is, what it’s costing them, and will then be able to adjust their usage/costs accordingly.”
Suite Metering Myths
For those who have made the switch to suite metering, the advantages speak for themselves. Nevertheless, there are misconceptions that can prevent those who have not made the transition from realizing the potential of water suite metering.
“One misconception we always hear is that suite metering is complicated. It doesn’t have to be if you work with a provider who takes care of everything from start to finish,” says Beacom, noting Priority Submetering Solutions’ own philosophy is to help clients handle everything from installing the meters, monitoring, the collection of funds and reporting.
Other misconceptions persist around the costs of suite metering. While some argue those costs are high and the savings minimal, Beacom says suite metering offers a proven benefit: “Based on a typical, 100-suite residence, we’ve calculated that buildings lose up to $1,800 for every month they aren’t suite metering for water. In addition, it has been reported that water suite metering can reduce costs for residents and the building by up to 39 per cent.”
Myths notwithstanding, water suite metering is an option that deserves investigation. Aligning your building with a reliable, honest and experienced provider is the first step towards reaping the environmental, sustainable, and financial benefits that water suite metering can provide.
Andrew Beacom is the President & CEO of Priority Submetering Solutions, a licensed, full-service utility Suite Metering and billing company serving multi-unit buildings across Canada and the United States. For more, visit www.prioritymeter.com.