As a property manager, you fill your days with many administrative, financial, and maintenance tasks with competing priorities and responsibilities.
From taking care of tenants to property inspections, maintenance to communication and paperwork, your work is never done.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to automate some of your time-consuming, manual tasks to allow you to concentrate on more pressing needs? And to save money while doing so?
“One area where this is possible is monitoring your property’s water consumption.
With Smartvatten’s remote water monitoring service, human error and manual labor in meter readings become things of the past, and you can even save about 20% on the water bills for each property, says Tim Twisk, Global Key Account Manager at Smartvatten.
But first, let’s take a look at the importance of monitoring water consumption, improving water efficiency, and how a water consumption monitoring system can help you monitor and optimize your property’s water efficiency easily.
Why is it important to monitor your property’s water consumption?
Water consumption is among the leading property management costs and a significant generator of energy consumption for real estate owners and investors.
By ensuring your property’s water consumption is as efficient as possible, you’ll save not only water and money but also time, energy, and even the planet!
According to Statista, the average person in the European Union consumes between 60-250 liters of tap water per day for drinking, cooking, showering, etc.
In multi-occupancy properties, this amount adds up very quickly. When you factor in the cost of energy consumption, the effect on a property owner’s bottom line quickly becomes evident in cases where you as the owner bear the burden of the water costs.
Not only does high water consumption have an impact on water payments, but also on energy costs and may necessitate increases in property charges that you pass onto your property’s tenants. On the other hand, if your tenants bear the cost for their water consumption, real-time monitoring of water usage and water saving measures will mean they will have less to pay.
“Lower water consumption means lower overall costs and happier property owners and tenants, and less water wastage,” explains Twisk.
As a property manager, you’ll want to ensure that your customers, real estate owners and investors, and tenants are as happy as possible, as it will make your job easier.
But how can you improve your property’s water efficiency?
First, you need to be able to accurately track your water usage – which isn’t always a simple task. Also, water leaks can cause significant increases in water consumption and often go unnoticed until they are causing water damage and water wastage. Water leaks can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
You need to monitor your water consumption on an ongoing basis to identify water leaks as early as possible and fix the issue to ensure that your water consumption is as accurate as possible. Then, you’ll be in a better place to be able to implement other water-saving measures.
When water leaks go unnoticed, they often lead to water damage. Water damage costs are always high and are usually borne by the tenant or real estate owner or investor. Insurance policies may cover some of the expenses related to water damage, but prolonged leaks affecting a building’s structural parts are not typically compensated.
Which water consumption monitoring system is right for you?
There are several options when it comes to choosing the best water consumption monitoring system for your property business.
Manual water consumption monitoring
It involves a technician or maintenance team, a traditional water meter, a pen, a piece of paper to record the reading results, before they are manually entered into a property management system.
Advantages: No hefty investment requires, a manual water meter reading is quick and relatively simple, and can be performed as frequently as needed.
Disadvantages: can be more expensive than an automated process, a manual reading is subject to human-error, can be expensive to perform daily if not hourly manual readings as needed.
Water meter with a pulse outlet
A pulse output measures the volume of water that flows through a conduit, making it possible to measure water consumption on an hourly basis. It can also be retro-fitted into an existing water meter.
Advantages: one main improvement to manual readings is that it can be used to automatically collect hourly water consumption data, meaning water management capabilities through more accurate measure-ment and less time spent on manual meter readings.
Disadvantages: with water consumption measured on an hourly frequency, it doesn’t help identify leaks—especially in residential properties as well as in bigger commercial real estates. The data collected isn’t accurate enough to negate the need for manual measurement, and while installing a pulse output isn’t particularly difficult or time-consuming, it still requires an initial investment and a technical implementation.
Optical water monitoring system such as Smartvatten
It consists of a small camera-like device that is attached to your main water meter and a cloud-based service that analyzes water consumption in real time.
Advantages: The first four benefits of Smartvatten are the same as those mentioned for ultrasonic flow meters above. In addition, as Smartvatten is sold as a service, this means that there is no large initial investment involved or technical setup. The device itself is only a camera, so setting up the system will only take about 2 minutes of your time. And you won’t even need a screwdriver to do that.
Easily monitor your property’s water consumption and optimize it to lower costs
Here, Smartvatten can save you!
“Smartvatten’s remote water monitoring removes the need for manual water meter readings, promotes sustainable ongoing use of water and energy, and saves you time and money,” says Twisk.
- Hidden leak detection: it can detect leaks that aren’t visible to your tenants.
- Quick and accurate leak detection: its super-speed can detect a leak within a minute of one occurring and to a deciliter precision, enabling you to swiftly tackle leak damage before the costs of repair spiral out of control.
- Saves you: it helps you save money, energy, time, effort, and even the planet!
Smartvatten is a convenient option for busy property managers. It is simple to install on your existing water meter and replaces the need for manual water meter readings while monitoring water consumption in real-time.
The remote monitoring service consists of a camera that monitors your main water meter around the clock and a cloud-based service that records data in real-time into online systems. It is compatible with 45 different systems using the API interface.
The system analyzes changes in water consumption patterns and notifies your maintenance team immediately if any deviation or leaks are detected. This way, you can fix any leaks immediately and thus reduce any water wastage and damage and their associated costs.
“Therefore, manual meter readings are no longer required, easing the burden and additional expense and time of maintenance staff physically recording the data with pen and paper,” Twisk says.
Smartvatten’s benefits in a nutshell:
- Monitor the main water meter of the property in real-time using a camera.
- Consumption data is immediately sent forward and can be easily integrated with maintenance logs and energy monitoring systems
- Leak alerts are sent automatically
- Our service is easy to use and cost-efficient, as it pays for itself starting from the very first leak it notices
- No start-up investments — you pay only for what you use
- No separate installation — simply plug it in and go
- No manual work or having to learn new programs
Smartvatten in action
The Smartvatten water efficiency solution’s effectiveness is in the data – our solution is currently in use at 7,450 properties across 15 countries.
“Each year, properties that use Smartvatten’s remote monitoring system are alerted to 32,920 leaks and, on average, can save up to 20% per property in water costs,” says Twisk.
Real-estate owners and investors such as Varma, Forenom, and Tampere Real Estate Services in Finland, Vesteda, NSI N.V., and INNAX in the Netherlands, and SISAB, and Savills in Sweden all reap the many benefits of having Smartvatten’s remote water monitoring service installed in their properties.