Using existing data to find water-saving potential: three concrete examples
Published on 26 October 2020
Water is a rare and precious resource and the fight against wasting it is a key issue. Running a building produces a large amount of data on water consumption. All of this valuable data can be used to review your water consumption, make comparisons with your peers or even detect possible leaks. In this article, we will encourage you to identify your available water consumption data as well as offer you concrete examples of how you can use it to reduce your consumption.
What kind of water data can you gather?
You can gather your water consumption data at several levels:
Monthly consumption data from your utility bills
Daily consumption data from some suppliers’ customer areas
Detailed consumption data from sub-metering
How can you use this data?
Before you start to use the data, it is crucial to get a holistic view of your building stock. How many buildings do you have? Which buildings are linked to which meters? Who is the supplier for each of them? These are the questions you have to ask yourself in order to get a comprehensive view. Without this initial step, it is impossible to analyze your water consumption.
Concrete example #1: Analysis of monthly consumption data
For a pragmatic and methodical approach, we highly recommend that you start with your monthly data. This will not only let you prioritize detecting the most significant data anomalies but you will also avoid getting bogged down in analyzing lots of important data in one go.
Monthly data consumption has offered several interesting analyses:
In the first example, we compared one building’s monthly consumption over five years. We can see that consumption increased from 2016 to 2018 before falling again in 2019. Therefore, we can assume that corrective measures were implemented in 2018.
In our second example, we compared the consumption of two similar buildings – same business activity, same size, same climate zone… – over the same time period. The green site clearly consumes much more than the blue site. We can, therefore, assume that the green site is showing significant consumption anomalies. Additional research is then needed to understand the reasons for this difference in consumption as quickly as possible.
Monthly consumption data, therefore, allows us to quickly detect significant consumption anomalies. However, carrying out more a detailed analysis on problematic sites is interesting for understanding the exact causes behind overconsumption. For that, we recommend that you analyze your daily consumption.
Concrete example #2: Analysis of daily consumption data
From curves of detailed data, we can analyze daily consumption from your building stock’s meters. Consequently, if there is a sudden peak in consumption, we can assume that there is a leak and respond quickly.
In this example, consumption at the end of June has risen from 60 m3 to 120 m3 overnight, indicating a significant leak.
Did you know? Some solutions will let you set up overconsumption alerts so you are promptly warned and can put corrective measures in place ASAP.
Concrete example #3: Analysis of sub-metering data
Installing additional meters to understand a building’s water consumption can prove to be very useful. In fact, sub-metering can let you achieve an even more detailed level of accuracy in consumption data analysis. For example, depending on equipment and requirements, it is possible to know your consumption per hour, per room or even the ratio of hot and cold water consumption.
In the first example, we compared consumption recorded by the main meter to consumption recorded by the sub-meters in the same building. We can see a 13% difference between the two graphs. This difference could mean a leak between the main meter and the sub-meters.
In the second example, we used the sub-meters to find out the ratio of hot to cold water consumption. Usually, hot water consumption should represent no more than 30% of total consumption, but here we can see it makes up around 50% of the total consumption. It might be necessary to raise more awareness among the building users or to check the equipment.
Water data is always valuable and is useful for analyzing your consumption, at even the most granular level. To avoid too much complexity and, so, drowning in a large quantity of very significant data, start by analyzing your monthly consumption data before tackling a higher degree of detail. For a successful project, taking it one step at a time is the name of the game! And you will see value added at each step.
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