Everyone involved with property management wants to conserve water, especially those of us responsible for paying the utility bills for multi-tenant properties.Fresh water simply isn’t the unlimited resource we assumed it was back when we learned about the natural water cycle in second grade — these days, we are at risk of using up all of the water in the world faster than Mother Nature can replenish it.
In the United States, we guzzle and drain more fresh water per capita than almost all countries in the world.
8 Water-Saving Products for Multi-Family Buildings
Fortunately, thanks to increasing open market demand, some recent technological advances, and good old human ingenuity, there are several innovative products available today that are specifically designed to lighten the volume of water consumed by the multifamily buildings under your management.
Each of the water-saving devices below can provide significant improvements when it comes to water efficiency.
- Hippo Water Saver
- The Toilet Scrooge™
- Shower Flow Controller
- The Smart Valve™
- Rain Water Solutions
- Liquid Pool Cover
1. Hippo-Sized Flushes
Coming out of the UK, the Hippo Water Saver is a polyurethane device that conserves a significant proportion of the water used to refill toilet tanks — up to three liters for each flush, depending on which Hippo product you choose.
The device sits inside the tank and basically constrains the full amount of water that a toilet normally uses for flushing, which in most cases doesn’t involve any compromises in performance. Even better, the Hippo, which has already been installed in both the White House and Buckingham Palace, does not require any professional setup.
Keep in mind, products like this, as with tank bags and so forth, don't do anything to stop the main cause of water waste from toilets, which is leaking or dripping. We are biased, of course, but we feel our toilet products, like The Water Scrooge™ flow diverter and leak detection tabs are better products. Most of our clients keep us as long-term partners, so we inspect toilets regularly to make sure they aren't leaking, that the flow rate is calibrated, and replace the flappers when necessary.
We don't see any hippos doing that!
2. The Toilet Scrooge™
What's worse than a leaky toilet? A lot of them! You would be shocked to hear how much water a running toilet uses!
This toilet leak prevention device will prevent 80% of your leaks because 80% of the leaks inside of units come from toilets!
How? The Toilet Scrooge™ leak prevention device uses a motion sensor that activates when a user is present. When the sensor is activated, the valve opens for a few minutes to allow water to flow to the toilet. After the user leaves, the valve closes, preventing any water from flowing to the toilet.
No water means no continuous leak!
3. Control Shower Flow
Why should you care about how many gallons of water a shower uses?
One of the reasons property owners are at a particular disadvantage in multi-tenant buildings is that tenants are rarely expected to pay for water themselves and have no pressing motivation to conserve. Therefore, property managers and owners need to build their water-saving measures into their rental units in a way that’s independent of each family’s behavior.
Unlike the normal low flow shower head that tenants tamper with, removing the water restrictors inside (cause they can) and by doing that they are increasing the water and HOT WATER flow, our Water Scrooge Shower Flow Controller is situated inside the wall behind the shower, allowing you to reduce water flow into any standard shower head.
Because of its location, tenants cannot tamper with the device; plus, because there’s no discernible difference in shower quality, they won’t even want to. This device can have a serious impact on total water use, especially when you consider how many apartment buildings end up conserving water over time. Similar options are available for kitchen sinks and other fixture types.
4. Grey Out of the Box
Much of the water that goes down the drain is actually reusable. For example, the water that is rinsed through a washing machine is not potable, but it can be reused for flushing toilets. The tricky part is making sure that “grey water” is processed efficiently and effectively. GreyLink does this by rinsing the water, as strange as that sounds, before returning it to the building that will reuse it.
The filters and pumps that allow this comprehensive irrigation system to be effective, come with a price tag, but when you consider how much water can be processed and reused, it pays for itself in a relatively short amount of time.
5. The Smart Valve™
As we all know, the symbol of water is H2O while the O stands for oxygen and that means that water contains a lot of air. Over 99% of water meters are measured by volume. It doesn't matter if the volume is all water, all air, or a mix of both, the water meter will measure and bill you for both. When you open a valve in your faucet or shower or toilet, you are reducing pressure and when pressure is been reduced, the gas (air) contained in the water is expended and has volume.
It's like when you open a bottle of coke, when the cap is closed, all the gas is trapped inside the bottle and has no volume but when you open the cap, the pressure is reduced and the gas expend and vape into the air. The SMART VALVE™ is installed externally, calibrating to your system while it is running. The valve stops the pressure drop from traveling any further upstream so your water meter measures only the water volume and no excess air.
The SMART VALVE™ starts working immediately after it is installed, 24/7, 365 days a year. Most customers report savings between 15 and 25%, with a few seeing much higher savings. Landlords are raving about this water conservation technology!
6. Easy Barrels for the Rain
A natural source of water is often squandered because few people are equipped with the means to harvest it: rain. The appropriately named Rain Water Solutions company provides collection barrels to help you take advantage of the runoff from your roof and make use of that water for any number of purposes that do not require potable water.
Every gallon saved via collected rainwater is a gallon you won't need to pay for — an easy enough way to conserve. You will need to check local laws, though, as some cities have rainwater laws in place and may levy fines if those ordinances go unheeded.
7. Sprinkler Accountability
A challenge for any property that has grounds — or even just a lawn — is maintaining a sprinkler system. Too often, the calibration of spigots and sprinklers is disrupted by lawn mowers, foot traffic, or even vandalism. When this happens, a sprinkler head can lose a vast amount of water before the runoff is detected and addressed. GeyserStop! is an irrigation control valve made of PVC that tracks the flow rate of sprinklers to ensure they are functioning normally.
If and when there is a problem, the device blocks the potential for the “geyser” of water loss to erupt — just as its name suggests. The rest of the system continues to function normally, so your lawn is watered as needed until you discover the damaged sprinkler. It goes without saying that by preventing a rapid dispersal of water, the GeyserStop! can save you a bundle.
8. Minimize Pool Evaporation with Liquid
For those who operate buildings with swimming pools, it’s become expected that staff will need to use heavy plastic covers for preventing excessive and unnecessary evaporation — or that management will foot the bill for ongoing replenishing. Those are simply the costs involved with having a pool, right? Not so with the Liquid Pool Cover.
Pop this product into your pool, and in a short time, the active ingredient is released to combine with the water in your pool to form a protective coating, as it were, which is undetectable to touch, 100% safe to swim in, and prevents water from evaporating from the pool.
Save Before It Drips Away
As someone responsible for a multi-family property, you know just how high your water bill can get.
By taking advantage of the best offerings to control multi-tenant water use, including tamper-proof technologies and offerings designed with comfort in mind, landlords can reduce their water bills without sacrificing resident happiness.