Making a Small Investment for a Sustainable Future

Making a Small Investment for a Sustainable Future

Thirty minutes. That’s all the time it took to decide to sign up with Smartvatten. For Athora Netherlands, choosing a smart and simple water efficiency solution that only requires a small investment was a no-brainer. Smartvatten fits right in with Athora’s sustainable approach to both the services it provides and its business practices.  

« In our business, this kind of investment is relatively small, » says Willem van Biezen, Manager FM Regie & Services, « and that means companies like ours shouldn’t even hesitate to sign up. » Athora Netherlands, part of the Athora group, is a pension and life insurer, mostly known for its Zwitserleven and Reaal brands. The company prides itself on sustainable investments, and works hard to integrate sustainability throughout its business.


Working with Smartvatten

Athora has two locations in the Netherlands, in Alkmaar and in Amstelveen, totaling 24,000 m2. Both have been equipped with a Smartvatten device on their water meters for about three years now, and Van Biezen and his technical manager have been pleased with the service. « The installation process happened in no time, and the reports are both thorough and easy to understand. »

Just a few weeks ago, Athora’s technical manager was notified of their first leak. « Something had been replaced in the kitchen and, apparently, one of the hoses hadn’t been connected properly. Then the monitor suddenly picked up a continuous flow of water – even in the middle of the night. » With Smartvatten’s alert, they were able to quickly respond and locate the leak. « Finding invisible leaks like these early on is invaluable. Because of the damage it does, of course, but also because of the loss of water, like with dripping taps. It’s such a waste! »

« With our two office buildings we’re certainly not Smartvatten’s biggest customer, but we’re a very enthusiastic one, » Van Biezen says. He promotes Smartvatten whenever he gets the chance. The service makes you more aware of your water consumption, and how most of us think it’s normal to let water simply go down the drain. « Fixing a leaking tap is really something we only do when the sound bothers us. It’s just a drop of water, right? » But when you think about the bigger picture, it quickly adds up to a lot of water and a significant impact on the environment.


Prioritizing sustainability

At Athora, Van Biezen is constantly looking for new ways to make their buildings more sustainable. From solar panels, heat and cold storage and a fleet of electric vehicles, to putting sensors on taps and placing stickers about responsible water use in bathrooms.

One of his new ideas is implementing greywater recycling. The amount of potable water used by all those toilets in all those offices is bizarre to him. « There’s a big pond at our Amstelveen location, and I’ve been talking to my technical manager about setting up a greywater circuit. I’m not an expert on the matter, but why can’t we use the pond, rain water and waste water to flush our toilets? » he says.

While a lot of companies talk about making sustainable changes, they don’t always follow through. « We’ve all talked a lot about sustainable changes, for a long time, but we don’t do that much. And, of course, there are many complicated steps you could take. But this is so simple, and such a small investment. Why not just do it? »