Sydney’s Crown Gardens is a luxurious, resort style residential strata building located just minutes from the Sydney CBD, Botanic Gardens and the bustling suburbs of Darlinghurst and Paddington. The complex has 143 luxury apartments and a café (most enjoying city and harbour views), beautiful gardens with a heated outdoor/outdoor pool and a full time concierge service.
Crown Gardens saving water with the Watersave SmartMeter Solution
The Building Manager, Colin Volkofsky from Sydney based building management company, Volkofsky & Brown manages the common area facilities in conjunction with the Strata Manager on behalf of the owners and reports directly to The Executive Committee. Besides maintaining the good condition of the Common Property, great effort is made to continually improve the performance and/or efficiency of the building and facilities.
In March 2013, the Watersave SmartMeter Solution was installed with a view to reducing overall water usage on site. Building Manager Colin Volkofsky said: “We decided to monitor existing water usage patterns to gain an understanding of consumption figures in order to propose real change. The SmartMeter Solution provided a simple and cost effective solution, offering the data required to measure, monitor and manage water consumption across our buildings. The Watersave SmartMeters were simple to install and automatic leak detection provides us with alerts when abnormal water usage occurs.”
Today, Crown Gardens uses six wireless devices to record the usage for the main water meter, the hot water meter, the combined pool and water feature meter, the irrigation meter and the two rooftop cooling towers.
Since installation of the SmartMeter Solution there have been a number of examples highlighting where water savings can be achieved on site. One example of excessive water usage was associated with a faulty ball float for the pool water supply which, when investigated, was found to be continuously filling with water. The excessive water use for the pool was unable to be visually detected as it was running to the sewer from the overflow located inside the balance tank. In this case, the SmartMeter Solution’s automated alarm system alerted the Building Manager to the excessive and unusual event which was immediately acted upon.
Equally, it was found that energy reduction measures that had significantly decreased electricity consumption had an adverse result on water consumption. The system (which had successfully operated for several years) whereby the condenser water pumps and cooling towers would automatically shut down whenever the ambient temperature fell below 15 degrees (deemed the temperature when no air-conditioning in the building was required) was discovered to be the cause of serious water loss. Again the SmartMeter Solution’s automated alarm system alerted the Building Manager to the semi-regular spike in water consumption. The subsequent investigation by Volkofsky and Brown found that whenever the condenser water system shut down the water within the cooling tower fill (plastic louvres) would drop back down and overfill the sump of each tower resulting in hundreds of litres pouring down the overflows.
Another example showing significant water loss occurred on 14th June, just 3 months after the SmartMeter Solution was installed. The SmartMeter’s alarm system alerted the Building Manager to excessive water being used by one of the rooftop cooling towers. After an initial water spike showing 47 L/Min, water usage settled at approximately 7 L/Min, accumulating to approximately 10,000 litres per day (a 5-fold increase on normal water usage at 2,000 L per day).
After checking the contractor records the Building Manager discovered that the cooling towers had been cleaned on the day that the excessive water use first occurred. A normally unused supply water valve for one of the cooling towers was discovered not to have been shut off correctly causing the tank to refill continuously. As soon as this valve was fully closed, regular daily consumption patterns resumed at Crown Gardens.
Colin Volkofsky said: “Today, we actively utilise the SmartMeter Solution’s threshold alerts to ensure daily water consumption does not fall outside normal water usage patterns; and should excessive usage occur, then we can act on this immediately. We are also using the information that is now available to perform an accurate cost benefit analysis for the future installation of a water recycling plant for the garden irrigation and solar pre-heat system for the domestic hot water.”
Volkofsky & Brown is a specialist facilities management company providing quality professional services to Residential and Commercial Owners’ Corporations. The company offers a broad variety of building management services working closely with Strata Managers, in the interests of the Owners Corporation, to ensure a building operates as efficiently as possible.
Watersave Australia delivers sustainable water management solutions for Residential and Commercial Strata. The Watersave SmartMeter Solution provides a complete picture of water usage in a building providing a snapshot of how water and costs are being managed. Building and Strata Managers benefit from accurate data and real time analysis of water usage in apartments, commercial units, air conditioning cooling towers, gardens and communal areas.
For more information about saving water in residential strata please contact Watersave Australia on 02 9986 2700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org