Real-time water monitoring saves school districts money

Real-time water monitoring saves school districts money

Monitoring systems can alert officials of problems, such as a water fountain with a stuck button. iStock photo

As students across the country begin heading back to the classroom, equipping schools can save money and improve water delivery thanks to cutting-edge technology that monitors water use in real time and provides instantaneous alerts when leaks or system failures occur.

Water is one of the nation’s most precious — and precarious — resources. Where once Americans lived and worked as though potable water was in almost infinite supply, recent droughts, pipeline water pollution and ever-increasing demand have brought the issue of vanishing water resources to the public’s attention, according to water conservation and technology firm WaterSignal.

Fortunately, school districts and other public enterprises have begun to understand just how fragile water resources are, and this understanding has led many to monitor water use by installing a real time monitoring system.

Monitoring water use in real time for “green” building certification 

One of the many advantages of monitoring water use in real time is that school maintenance workers and budget staff can now avoid the “sticker shock” of huge quarterly water bills that show up when a persistent leak has not been addressed or remedied.

Many school districts are not even aware of how monitoring water in real time cannot only save money and streamline operations, but also can have a positive impact on the environment.

For example, schools seeking “green building” certification under such agencies as the U.S. Green Building Council (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED) will necessarily have to establish that their water use falls within certain parameters. Other certification programs, like ASHRAE 189.3, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the National Green Building Standard, or NGBS, have similar water-use mandates.

This green label designation can be disrupted in a single day, where consistent water monitoring and repair are allowed to fall by the wayside. But not when a school building’s water use is being watched minute by minute.

In addition to identifying inefficiencies before they become costly problems, a monitoring system helps control management costs by giving management access to water use data anytime, anywhere, without the need for costly travel expenses, larger fleet services expenditures or key personnel offsite when a problem occurs.

Water losses through faulty plumbing

Some people still think that a leaky toilet is not a big deal. In fact, a single malfunctioning toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water in a single day. That’s more than 6,000 gallons a month, or an average of $70. This amount of water is enough to irrigate one 100-foot square plot of grass!

According to WaterSense, a program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, residential water leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water yearly. Imagine how much a school serving hundreds of young people can waste between toilets, faucets, drinking fountains, food service, heating and cooling, and landscape maintenance.

In the cloud 

Monitoring systems like those developed by WaterSignal function in the cloud, saving data to remote, secure servers connected to the Internet. This means that data about water use is instantly retrievable.

If there is a catastrophic failure in a school’s plumbing system, sufficient to create a hazard to students and staff, administrators and maintenance will know about it before someone gets hurt.

The wireless monitoring technology can even take on big installations like cooling towers, providing the necessary data to determine if the cycles of concentration are right. In one instance alone, WaterSignal’s monitoring detected a massive leak which, when repaired, saved the customer $19,000 per week.

Of course, the system also alerts to small leaks, like a drinking fountain button stuck in the open position, excessive irrigation and a commercial dishwasher springing a leak.


Topics: Architectural Firms, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Educational Buildings, Educational Buildings - Colleges and Universities, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Technology, Water Saving Strategies and Devices

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