What are they?
Water metering includes the main utility meter and any sub-metering. The meters measure the amount of water passing through them. Some meters will incorporate monitoring to record half-hourly water consumption which may be communicated to the building’s metering system or Building Management System. Sub-metering is particularly beneficial if there are large water consuming areas in the building (e.g. cooling towers, shower blocks, canteens) or equipment present (e.g. swimming pool).
Advantages / Disadvantages
Essentially all buildings in mainland Australia have mains water meters, although most are only read monthly.
Water sub-metering will provide greater transparency for the management of water use, and are particularly useful for the detection of leaks (typically caused by valves passing water through to the sewer, rather than by purst pipes).
Sub metering is essential if an tenant wants to plan effectively to reduce their water usage and monitor the success of their activities.
Maintenance costs of any sub-metering will be minimal. However, there will be a cost associated with monitoring the meter readings which might be part of the building management team or outsourced to a third party organisation.
Retrofit / improvement opportunities
Metering is easy to retrofit and low cost to install.
Sub-metering can be installed in any building, bit should be focussed on identifying major energy uses such as cooling towers, amenities and food preparation areas.
Floor plate implications
The water utility company will carry out all necessary maintenance on the main water meter. Periodic checking and servicing of any sub-metering will need to be undertaken by the owner who typically installs it.
The main utility meter is typically located in a plant room in the basement or on the ground floor on the incoming water main. Sub-metering will be located on the water supply pipework to the area or equipment served.
What to ask for
- How many water sub-meters are in place and what areas or equipment do they serve?
- How is water consumption charged back to the tenants?
- Who takes responsibility for monitoring and is there an associated cost?