HFM and the WaterWise Revolution
HFM and the WaterWise Revolution
Alan Saunders on the Benefits of Sub-Metering
Back in 2011, HFM was busy helping Water Corp come up with the guidelines for their new Water Wise Office Program. Three years later, and the positive results are starting to show across Perth’s commercial office spaces.
Seven of Perth’s largest and most iconic buildings have been accredited with ‘Water Wise’ status: Albert Facey House, Council House, Dumas House, the John Tonkin Water Centre, 1 Adelaide Terrace, 151 Royal Street and 100 St Georges Terrace.
Seven more buildings have signed up for the program and are working towards the Water Wise endorsement, including the Police headquarters, Brookfield Place, the Mill Green Complex and Parliament House. In order to sign up for the program, buildings are required to have a NLA greater than 5,000m.² Once committed, they must set targets to improve water use, report annually on progress, and demonstrate that their water use performance is equal to or above the industry baseline.
Buildings that meet the minimum criteria are endorsed and given access to the Waterwise branding. HFM worked closely with most of these now-Waterwise buildings, performing audits and delivering the NABERS Water Ratings.
“If you know where your water is going, you know how to save it,” said Alan Saunders, HFM’s Facilities Consultant. For all of these buildings, sub-metering was the key to their success. If water usage can be monitored on a specific level, the information can be used to identify both mechanical and human errors.
“The fountains at Council House were using 400% more water than they should have been. Using the sub-metering, we were able to track it down to a gardener forgetting to turn them off overnight, and solve the problem by installing a timer,” said Saunders.
“Human error aside, the main ways for a building to drastically reduce its’ usage are to check the tap-ware and restrict the flow rate, change to 9L shower heads, change to dual flush toilets and waterless or low flow urinals, and put the gardens onto bore water.”
“The taps and shower heads have a quick return rate, of less than a year. The dual flush toilets are slightly longer, being up to 10 years, but toilets are a necessary feature of any office building, so it’s worth making the switch.”
Another example of poor monitoring occurred in a multi-storey office building which had two vacant floors.
“Each floor had four toilet blocks, and the property manager thought they weren’t using any water. After checking the meters and inspecting the bathrooms, it soon became clear that the old toilet units were running water- absolute buckets of it.”
“That’s why it’s so important to carry out inspections, even if an asset is not being used,” said Saunders.
As summer approaches, we are starting to see the familiar ‘waterwise’ advertisements, urging residential households to save 4 litres a day.
However, with Perth’s office buildings using 1.5 billion litres of water a year (that’s enough for 6000 homes!) it is important that commercial owners realise what they could be saving, and how to do it.
Buildings we audited and rated:
- Albert Facey Hous
- Council House
- Dumas House
- John Tonkin Water Centre
- 1 Adelaide Terrace
- 151 Royal Street and
- 100 St Georges Terrace
For more information on the program, visit the Water Corp website.
This story was first seen at The Fifth Estate.