Measuring water consumption – opportunities for the owner, developer and resident
The legal requirement to measure water consumption came into force in November 2020*. When I looked at articles written on the subject, they gave the impression that the law provides only a stick for property owners and developers, but no carrot. However, in my opinion, the possibilities offered by this law have not been sufficiently highlighted. The law should not be thought of merely as a constraint, a box to be ticked because we must and then forgotten. Rather, we should keep an open mind and also see the opportunities offered by this law. For example, the act enables the adoption of modern technology that has a direct link to the management of the property's safety and costs. Below, I go into other possibilities related to the Water Metering Act.
The Act allows ownership of water consumption
No one has had ownership of water consumption measurement in apartments, unlike, for example, the management of electricity networks. As a result, there has been nobody whose interests are in ensuring the reliable functioning of water metering systems for dwellings. The law on water metering will hopefully change this.
The act makes it possible to prevent water leak damage with reliable and modern technology
Imagine a situation where the flushing mechanism in a toilet has completely broken since the resident left the apartment and the toilet has started leaking water into the sewer. The water has leaked into the sewer at a rate of about 16,000 liters per day. That is an awful lot! The average water consumption in Finland is approximately 140 liters per inhabitant per day. (Source: Motiva)
The above scenario is a true story. It happened in an apartment that had a real-time water metering system and thanks to an alert set for continuous water consumption, resulted in a very low additional cost to the resident. Fortunately, in this case, the water spilled down the drain. If the water had spilled into the structure of the property, the damage, cost, and repair time would have been staggering. A lot of people may think that leaks don’t happen very often. But if you look at the insurance company statistics, you will see that this really isn’t the case: leaks are surprisingly common.
With a traditional building automation system, water metering can only be done every 30 minutes at worst. In the event of water damage, half an hour is a long time ago. New technology changes this and water consumption can now be measured in real time.
Real-time water consumption measurement could also be combined with sensors that measure humidity in the structures and air of the apartment.
The resident could also have a system in place that allows "Home / Away" mode control conveniently from a wall switch or phone app. If the sensors were to identify abnormal measurement values in the humidity of the air, or if the pipe break occurred while the resident was away at home, the new technology would enable a rapid response: the resident would receive a notification of abnormal measurement values in the application of their phone or, if desired, the housing company's maintenance company would be alerted of an emergency. Safety could be taken even further, causing water consumption in the Away mode to cause the mains water shut-off valve to close.
The law is fair
Would you pay a higher electricity bill because a neighbor heats their sauna every day? That doesn't sound very fair. The water fee based on the number of persons or square meters of the apartment is unfair, especially for residents whose water consumption is, for example, one third of the maximum of similar dwellings in a housing company. The Water Consumption Measurement Act brings an amendment to this, as it enables up-to-date invoicing based on water consumption per dwelling. Up-to-date invoicing according to consumption is also important for landlords, so that water invoicing can be done cost-effectively, for example, when the tenant changes.
The new Water Consumption Act therefore offers a lot of good opportunities for safety, costs and practicality. If you are left wondering how, as a developer, landlord or representative of a housing company, you could take advantage of these opportunities and how you could easily install modern technology into your property instead of a traditional building automation system, please send a message firstname.lastname@example.org
Cozify, Development Manager
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* In November 2020, a water consumption law entered into force concerning new buildings and multi-dwelling buildings to be renovated, which must now have the possibility of remote reading of water consumption meters for individual apartments. The act also requires that the water bill for housing companies will in future be based on the measurement of consumption per dwelling, and the bill will consist of the amount of water used and the amount of energy used to heat it. (Source: Motiva) .