When it comes to water usage, you can see your water and heating costs skyrocket for a number of reasons. Dripping faucets, long showers, constantly running toilets, and excessive laundry room usage can eat into rental profits.
Reducing water usage can save on operational costs and make your multifamily buildings more efficient and sustainable. Look into these water-saving features to implement in your multifamily property.
Water Audit to Discover Water-Saving Opportunities
To understand where the most water waste occurs, you need to discover what features are using up the most water. Performing a water audit allows you to determine previous and current water usage so that you can determine the ideal water saving measures to reduce inefficiencies. To perform an audit, you will want to:
- Take an inventory of all interior multifamily plumbing fixtures and features that use water such as sinks, toilets, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.
- Identify exterior property equipment that use water, including irrigation systems, pools, hot tubs, and water fountains
- Gather utility bills from the past three to five years to track normal water volume, seasonal water usage, and unusual water usage anomalies
You'll want to perform a thorough inspection of the property to determine visual leaks or malfunctions of any equipment. Then, measure flow rates of faucets and hose bibs, as well as flush volumes of toilets and the water pressure for each. Based on the number of apartment units and equipment, you can make the right assessments regarding how water is used, the amount of water being consumed, and whether equipment is managing the water efficiently.
Upgrade Your Kitchen Fixtures
Cooking meals three times of day can put a dent into water saving efforts. From using water to meal prep to washing dishes and cooking utensils, a lot of water ends up down the drain. Look at your current fixtures and check for drips and leaks. Also consider upgrading old fixtures. New, low-flow fixtures can give water rates as low as 1.5 GPM.
"According to water providers, the kitchen accounts for about 20 percent of our indoor water use – almost all from the kitchen faucet. Older faucets flow at 5 gallons per minute; new efficient faucets cut that to 1.5 gallons. You save 3.5 gallons every minute you normally run the kitchen faucet."
- Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee
The Symmons® Identity™ Kitchen Faucet comes with a standard flow rate of 1.5 gpm for not only water efficiency, but also style and functionality for multifamily kitchens.
Bathroom Fixture Upgrade Ideas
Toilets, faucets, and sinks are major culprits of water waste. The amount of water that tenants use to shower, take baths, and flush toilets can cause headaches for property owners. Low-flow faucets and showerheads can lower water rates to 2.5 gpm or lower. During apartment renovations, also consider adding low-flow toilets that are either gravity-assisted or pressure-assisted that have a 1.6 gpf rate.
The Symmons® Dia® Showerhead provides 2.5 gpm and easy to clean rubber nozzles for multifamily apartment units.
Create Water-Efficient Laundry Spaces
When laundry equipment is made available in apartment units, tenants will use it more often. Consider installing washing machines with dedicated washing machine valves, such as from Laundry-Mate, to control both drain and water flow.
The Laundry-Mate® Washing Machine Valve features on/off settings, as well as supply and drain features to control water flow. Laundry-Mate removes the water supply pressure to limit danger of flooding from bursting supply hoses when machine is not in use. It also offers a single lever handle to manually control both hot and cold water supply to the machine.
Saving water can be as simple as eliminating a non-essential exterior water feature, such as a hot spa that tenants no longer use or a water feature, to more complex retrofits or upgrades such as switching to more efficient water heaters and other fixtures. Perform an audit to help decide which areas of your multifamily property can benefit from water reducing strategies without compromising the comfort of your tenants.