Due to rapidly increasing utility costs, submetering is becoming the go-to strategy for relief from rising operating costs and low cap acquisitions in a rent controlled Canadian market. It also plays a crucial role in reducing a building’s environmental impact- a factor that is becoming more important to property owners as our country continues to put more focus on green initiatives and environmental conservation. With residents paying for their own consumption, they have lower fixed costs and more control over their cost of living, and the owner is only responsible for common area costs that can be controlled through efficient design and conservation practices.
The process of moving from bulk billing to individual billing is quite simple. For the majority of installations, which are uncomplicated, a submetering company will usually install the meters often at no cost to the owner. The submetering company will recover the cost of the installation through a monthly customer charge, which is typically the same or lower than the LDC would charge. The residents will not see this customer charge: it will only be one element of a line called “Delivery Charge” as required by provincial rules – the same practice that the LDC’s must follow.
People are inevitably more conservative with their consumption when they are paying for it meter by meter. Major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary have been exploring the positive impacts of installing submetering systems for some time now, and the results speak for themselves. A recent case study conducted by Wyse Meter Solutions monitored a sample of five buildings containing 1,124 suites for their electricity consumption in submetered versus non-submetered units. The results were astounding, showing an average 52% in-suite reduction in consumption for bill-paying residents vs. non-bill payers. The average bill paying units’ electricity consumption was 158.99 kWh, while non-bill paying residents showed an average consumption of 303.1 kWh. That’s 83,000 grams of GHG emissions reduced by each bill payer.
Wyse Meter Solutions Case Study: 5 Buildings | 1,124 Suites | Average Electricity Consumption
Evidently, submetering truly changes behaviour, allowing residents to monitor and control their ecological footprint and live a greener lifestyle. As a landlord or property owner, having your building submetered is equally as environmentally responsible, as the overall building’s consumption is significantly reduced when tenants are accountable for their own usage. Once five of Wyse Meter Solutions’ buildings were fully turned over to submeters, they showed an average $600,000 savings in operating costs per building. The other benefits? Most landlords don’t change their rents once they submeter. Therefore, the entire utility cost per unit goes straight to their bottom line in savings. In a typical suite, that’s $50 per month in cost savings. However, in the case of electricity, rates in some provinces are forecast to rise by 10% annually for years to come. So by 2020, $50 per month will become $90 per month. If cap rates are at 6%, that is $18,000 in additional value created per unit by 2020 through submetering.
In terms of the hardware, when it comes to any utility metering project it’s always advisable to work with a provider who can tailor a project to your specific building requirements. Beyond reading the usage in a specific area, (ex. a unit) newer technology called “High Density Digital Submeters” incorporate additional capabilities, such as automated meter reading, interval metering (enabling Time of Use (TOU) electricity pricing) hourly, daily and monthly online consumption reporting, and remote outage tracking and programming updates. In newer and high-end buildings, property owners are often looking for a sleek, non-invasive solution, and these compact Smart Meters are designed to be wireless, seamless and hidden from plain sight, with no physical imprint. Basically, you can still submeter, increasing your building’s energy efficiency, reducing your costs and your building’s overall carbon footprint, while maintaining a modern, clean aesthetic with optimal efficiency and functionality.
Published October 03, 2019 multiresidential multires submetering energyefficiency propertymanagement newconstruction housing sustainability sustainablebuilding livegreen utilitymanagement electricity utilitymetering construction landlord