Syntrus Achmea is an investment manager in real estate and mortgages for institutional investors. Operating mainly in the Netherlands, the company invests in sustainable real estate that offers financial and social returns. Syntrus Achmea aims to contribute to a sustainable future and has been focusing on monitoring and reducing their properties’ energy consumption for several years. They were lacking an efficient way, however, to monitor their properties’ water consumption. Syntrus Achmea began working with Smartvatten in April 2019 to get better insights into their water data, and expanded the service to over 40 locations in December 2019.
Manual meter readings gave poor data
Prior to working with Smartvatten, Syntrus Achmea relied on manual water readings to measure their properties’ water consumption. “The problem is that smart water meters weren’t available, or they were very expensive. So that’s why we did manual water consumption monitoring until now, but the quality of the data has been quite poor,” says Roel Kalfsvel, Manager of Sustainability at Syntrus Achmea. Roel is responsible for developing Syntrus Achmea’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) policy, and works on major ESG projects within the company. When they discovered Smartvatten at the PROVADA real estate exhibition in 2018, Syntrus Achmea decided to test the smart water monitoring system for themselves.
Rolling out Smartvatten across 40 properties in the Netherlands
Syntrus Achmea rolled out the smart water monitoring system in about 40 properties, including apartment buildings, shopping centers, and some healthcare properties. They installed Smartvatten on the water meters they are responsible for, and made an agreement with one of their tenants to also monitor their water consumption.
“Our main purpose with Smartvatten is to get more insights into our water data. With good insights, we’ll be better equipped to reduce our water consumption. We also want to see if we can detect leaks in our portfolio properties,” says Roel.
Even with many different stakeholders involved, the implementation process went smoothly. “Setting up Smartvatten went very well. All the property managers had the information they needed. The Smartvatten cameras are now on the water meters, and we’ll get the first reports in two months time,” says Roel.
“Already we are seeing that leading Dutch property owners have started to set water saving objectives in their ESG-strategies,” says Joe Hamari, Co-Founder of Smartvatten. “ We can really show our value with customers like Syntrus Achmea who need a solution which is scalable throughout all portfolios,” he continues.
Gaining meaningful water consumption insights
While Syntrus Achmea has only recently begun using Smartvatten, they’ve already started seeing the benefits. “We discovered that one of our water meters where we wanted to put the Smartvatten camera wasn’t working. If it wasn’t for Smartvatten, we would have only discovered this problem months or years later. But now we were able to take action right away,” says Roel.
Most importantly, Smartvatten helps Syntrus Achmea get accurate and meaningful water consumption data for their properties, and work towards improving their environmental impact. Syntrus Achmea is also working with INNAX to create GRESB reports for key performance indicators, which includes water consumption data. The quality of the water reports will now improve now by using Smartvatten.
“The importance of sustainability has been a big topic for about 10 years now. But there’s a lot of green washing. What our investors care about is real results—you have to prove that you’re really working on sustainability and making your portfolio more sustainable. Smartvatten can help us show our investors real data. So we’re not just saying that we think it’s good to reduce water consumption, but we can also show the figures that we have achieved.”
Syntrus Achmea’s partnership with Smartvatten so far has been positive. “We have a very good relationship with the Smartvatten team. They’re always willing to help. Joe and Tim showed us the reports that are possible with Smartvatten, and the portal works really well—it gives us good insights,” says Roel.
“Smartvatten is a solution every real estate company should consider,” he continues.
What’s next for Syntrus Achmea
The first stage of Syntrus Achmea’s collaboration with Smartvatten is to focus on collecting water consumption data from many different properties in their portfolio. After about a year, they’ll decide if they will expand Smartvatten in their portfolio.
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