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Water plays an integral role in operations for commercial buildings, multifamily communities and manufacturing spaces. As such, it’s important to understand water usage patterns to ensure efficiency and reduce liabilities.

In recent years, benchmarking has become the standard for energy monitoring as costs, and associated environmental and sustainability issues have raised awareness around the importance of energy management; however, little has been said about benchmarking water, our most precious resource. When applied to building water consumption, benchmarking water can be a fantastic way to improve efficiency and save money. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Define your goals

Regardless of what you’re trying to benchmark, the number first question you should ask is “what information is most important to me, and why?” It’s easy to become bogged down by the variety of filters that can be applied to your benchmarking analysis, and a question like this can lead you to defining and sticking to the core goal of why you decided to benchmark facility water use in the first place.

Examples of benchmarking goals might include:

– Identifying facility performance issues and prescribing appropriate remedies.
– Determining if your facility is under-performing or over-performing compared to similar facilities.
– Justifying a budget for a) implementing a new facility policy, b) staffing additions or reductions, c) outsourcing certain programs or maintenance services.
– Demonstrating a track record of success to clients, if you are a contractor.

Collect and review data

This could include collecting basic space characteristic information for each facility, asset information, operating trends, water project timelines, cost information, and consumption data. A few things that will help kick start the benchmarking process include:

– 12-24 months worth of water bills for your facility
– A calculation of your facility’s total water usage per year (metered as well as unmetered)
– The facility’s estimated water and sewer costs
– A list of areas in the facility that use the most water — Is it the restrooms? Irrigation system? Cooling tower?

Pro Tip: Delegating collection responsibilities may help create a more manageable process and can empower end users in the decision-making process.

Implement a smart water monitoring system

Now that you’ve set a goal and established a baseline, it’s time to implement a smart water monitoring system. When installed, WaterSignal enables users to quickly compare facility water consumption to past numbers or to similar facilities nationwide. Additionally, our smart water monitoring system detects leaks in real time and alerts users via text and email, reducing water loss and potential damage.

Review and make adjustments

With a goal, baseline, and monitoring system in place, you can now review and analyze the data in various ways to inform future decision-making.

To learn more about WaterSignal and benchmarking water use, contact us today.