The average American family of four uses approximately 400 gallons of water per day. Water managers of 40 U.S. states, or 80% of the country by region, anticipate water shortages within 10 years. Worldwide, clean water shortages are among the most pressing humanitarian issues. Reducing household water consumption can not only lower multi-tenant landlords' utility bills, but it can also have a significant impact on the environment.
Technology for Residential Water Conservation
For residential landlords of multi-tenant units, installing water conservation technology can offer a host of benefits. By using faucet regulators, flush converters, and other types of conservation technology, it is possible to significantly reduce consumption without having a negative impact on tenant experience.
If your business goals include reducing utility bills, attracting new tenants, or creating a positive impact on your community, water conservation technology could be the right answer. Join us as we review nine cutting-edge technologies to reduce water usage, landlords will love.
1. Shower Regulators
The cost of your residents' daily showers are among the biggest drains on your utility budget. Not only does a 10-minute shower use approximately 30-50 gallons of water, it can also spike electricity bills due to the power necessary to heat water. Adopting shower regulator technologies can go a long way in curbing costs.
There are several forms of shower regulators available to residential landlords. While both low-flow shower fixtures and tamperproof fixtures can reduce water usage during showers, it's important to ensure that low-flow regulators do not sacrifice tenant comfort.
In order to ensure that shower regulators protect conservation efforts, landlords have several options:
- Tamperproof fixtures: These options can only be removed by maintenance or other authorized personnel, due to a need for a special key to remove or modify the regulator.
- Install a spa showerhead: Low-flow spa showerheads are designed to maintain tenant comfort despite decreased water pressure. The resulting effect is luxurious, without the sky-high utility bills.
2. Faucet Aerators
Bathroom and kitchen sinks can be equipped with aerator technology. Aerators create a no-splash stream, due to a combining of water and air. This offers high water pressure without high water usage.
Investing in tamperproof faucet aerators could be crucial to ensuring adoption in a multi-unit property. Some residents may find the mixed delivery of water and air annoying during hand washing, dishes, and other routine activities.
By purchasing faucet aerators that can be removed only with a special key, landlords can prevent tenants from removing the aerators as soon as maintenance is finished with installation. Additionally, the quality of faucet aerators can go a long way in ensuring adoption and satisfaction. The Water Scrooge's tamper-proof faucet products can have a lower impact on tenant comfort than cheap aerators which cause splashing or uncomfortably low pressure.
3. Toilet Tank Fill Cycle Diverters
Fill cycle diverters reduce water utilization by diverting some water that would typically fill the toilet bowl to the tank. This technology uses less water for the toilet bowl and tank, which can reduce water utilization by up to 1/2 gallon per flush. Some toilet tank diverters offer multiple configurations, which can include water level reduction.
Customizing fill cycle diverters allows landlords to make adjustments according to tenant needs or property management's preferences. In contrast, while toilet tank bags are among the lowest costs toilet technologies, they are relatively easy for tenants to remove.
Landlords should consider the importance of regular leak inspection on toilet tanks to facilitate ongoing cost savings. The Water Scrooge's white glove installation service includes toilet tank inspection for the presence of leaks, increased water use per flush, as well as follow-up leak detection.
4. Outdoor Irrigation Controls and Rain Sensors
If your property requires outdoor watering to maintain landscaping, outdoor irrigation controls are a "smart" tool similar to the Nest thermostat. By using streams of weather satellite data on weather conditions specific to your outdoor area, smart sprinkler controllers can adjust watering to ensure rainwater is utilized while maintaining landscape health.
Forbes writes that some of the first outdoor irrigation controls were built in response to a very real and wasteful problem -- sprinkler systems that go off, as scheduled, during a rainstorm. The first generation of these sensor-driven timers can be controlled from smartphone apps and include tools to monitor your water usage history. In cold climates like NYC, outdoor irrigation controllers can also adjust to below-freezing temperatures that can protect against irrigation system damage.
Rain sensors shut off scheduled outdoor irrigation or sprinkler systems when rainfall is detected, to prevent water usage. These connected devices rely on moisture sensors to prevent scheduled irrigation, such as lawn sprinklers that run on timers, from occurring. While these sensors will prevent watering during rainfall, they're not designed to increase watering during dry periods or respond to freezing temperatures.
The purpose and outcome of rain sensors and outdoor irrigation controls is pretty similar. However, landlords who need irrigation control should note that rain sensors don't require a wireless connection since their function isnt based on data streams from weather satellites. Another potential bonus is that rain sensors come at a much lower price point than smart irrigation controllers.
5. Soil Moisture Sensors
Soil moisture sensors are designed for garden beds, lawns, and other forms of outdoor landscaping. These sensors provide feedback to irrigation or sprinkler systems on how much watering is needed, based on detected soil moisture level.
6. Sprinkler Heads
Low-technology sprinkler heads can waste a great deal of water, due to uneven or ineffective water distribution. By using sprinkler heads with better coverage due to the size of water droplets, landlords can increase overall irrigation efficiency by 10-20%. If you are able to use rainwater or other forms of non-potable water for irrigation, you can further reduce water utilization.
7. Toilet Tank Leak Detection Tablets
Leaking toilet bowl tanks can be difficult to detect but can significantly raise water utilization. One Minnesota resident's water usage increased a staggering 36,000 gallons over three months due to an undetected tank leak.
Leak detection tablets contain dye and can be dropped into a tank to detect whether water is being "wasted" over a short period of time. Due to the extreme simplicity of this conservation tool, the test can be performed by any resident or member of a building maintenance team.
It Pays to Conserve
Balancing tenant comfort and preferences with available technologies for water conservation should be a priority for residential landlords in 2016. By taking advantage of the best offerings to control residential water use, including tamperproof technologies and offerings designed with comfort in mind, landlords can reduce their water bills without sacrificing resident happiness.
The Water Scrooge offers patented, tamperproof fixtures for showers and sinks that are designed to create a minimal impact on resident experience. Our multi-tenant kits include shower flow controllers, sink aerators, toilet fill cycle converters, leak detection tablets, and more. As a matter of fact, our clients save an average of $500 per unit per year thanks to The Water Scrooge. To learn more about these multi-tenant kits, click here.