Smartvatten really helps Vesteda be seen as a leader in sustainability and technology
Sustainable living is a top priority for Vesteda— an entrepreneurial investor with a clear focus on the Dutch residential real estate market, with approximately 27,000 residential units. As the sustainability program manager, Stephan de Bie is always on the lookout for the top market trends to improve energy efficiency rankings and maximize ROI.
Vesteda was already measuring its properties’ gas and electricity consumption remotely before Smartvatten. But up until last summer, they were still using manual water meter readings, wasting precious time and resources driving to all the residential units.
To get accurate water consumption data and cut costs, Vesteda decided to test Smartvatten in several of its properties.
An unexpected solution
Vesteda had been sending maintenance staff to manually check the water meters at each of its fully-owned residential units. But measuring water consumption at its partly-owned complexes was a challenge since Vesteda doesn’t have keys to these units, and would need approval by the board to collect the data.
Stephan wasn’t actively looking for a solution to this problem when he first discovered Smartvatten. But he was hooked by Joe Hamari’s presentation—Smartvatten’s co-founder—at a property owner exhibition in Amsterdam.
“We weren’t looking for automatic meter readings, but Joe came by, and we thought Smartvatten might be the solution for us,” says Stephan. They soon agreed to test out Smartvatten during a pilot phase at 10 of Vesteda’s fully-owned properties.
From manual to automatic: Collecting accurate water consumption data in real time
The vital first step to improving sustainability and preventing excessive costs is measuring your current water consumption. And that’s exactly what Vesteda set out to do.
During the pilot phase, the main goal was to start collecting water consumption data more efficiently. “Some of our properties with swimming pools or rooftop gardens can consume a lot of water,” says Stephan. “We needed to do more than monitor consumption on a yearly basis.”
Stephan also wanted to test Smartvatten’s leak detection capabilities and see if the cost was worth the benefits. “It wasn’t too expensive, and it’s a simple device so we wanted to see if it works.”
“One of the merits of Smartvatten is that it’s easy to install. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Implementing Smartvatten went smoothly, and from the start, they always got support when they needed it. “One of the merits of Smartvatten is that it’s easy to install. If I can do it, anyone can do it,” says Stephan. “And if ever something doesn’t go well, we get an immediate response and a solution to our problem.”
Vesteda now uses Smartvatten in 26 of its fully-owned complexes. “We decided to use Smartvatten at the complexes that have the highest water consumption, at 100 cubic meters per year,” he says.
Reduced costs, increased competitive advantage
With Smartvatten’s remote water monitoring system, Vesteda no longer needs to travel to each of its properties to collect data, which significantly cuts operational costs. Smartvatten even provided the integration to their existing building energy management system—now they have the necessary water, electricity, and gas data in the same place without any manual work.
Using Smartvatten will also help improve Vesteda’s GRESB score. As the global standard for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) benchmarking and reporting for listed property companies, GRESB awards points for high-quality data. With Smartvatten, Vesteda is now collecting accurate, real-time data, which is an improvement from manual meter readings.
And when the water company asks Vesteda for information, they can give the exact data backed by evidence.
“Smartvatten helps us be seen as a leader in sustainability.”
Most companies in the Netherlands don’t use automatic meter readings, setting Vesteda apart as an industry leader. “Our competitors don’t measure water consumption. When they see us going over the border to implement innovative technologies, [Smartvatten] helps us be seen as a leader in sustainability.”
“Our CEO was quite enthusiastic that we had new technology from Finland. We’re the first in Holland to use it.”
From the residential landlords to the CEO, everyone at Vesteda had a positive impression of Smartvatten.
“Our CEO was quite enthusiastic that we had new technology from Finland. We’re the first in Holland to use it. Other companies in Holland also bought meters because of the positive response we gave.”
Next steps: Vesteda develops a water reduction plan with Smartvatten
Vesteda plans to expand its use of Smartvatten to more residential complexes.
“We want to monitor water consumption at every single complex. We’re first focusing on measuring our consumption, then we can go more into reduction targets,” says Stephan. “We want to monitor and lower our consumption by two percent per year, and Smartvatten can help with that.”
“We want to monitor and lower our consumption by two percent per year, and Smartvatten can help with that.”
As part of their expansion plan, Vesteda also wants to implement meters in their partly-owned complexes.
“We want to start a program next year to get approval for partly-owned complexes. It would help both us and the owners, as we would know their consumption directly.”
Explaining the value of Smartvatten in clear and simple terms is key to getting approval.
“Smartvatten has a quick and easy video explaining what their solution does,” says Stephan. “Explaining that we only want to measure the data and how Smartvatten does that makes it much more convincing to get approval—Smartvatten really thinks of the things we have to deal with.”