Property Owners- Are You Up to Speed on Submetering?

Submetering has proven cost saving benefits to both the landlord and residents, as well as a proven reduction in consumption which can significantly lower your building’s ecological footprint. From Electrical to Water and even Thermal (BTU) metering options, modern technology is rapidly advancing to provide compact, non-invasive and reliable solutions for both new builds and retrofit projects. There are several advantages to working with one submetering provider to meter multiple utilities in your building(s), first and foremost being the proven financial and environmental savings, as well as access to high-level customer service and efficiency in billing processes for residents. These survey results presented by Avison Young-Investments (Canada) Inc. at the 2019 Canadian Apartment Investment Conference (CAIC) suggest that Canadian residents are also on board with taking control of their monthly utility costs.



The process of moving from bulk billing to individual billing is quite simple. For the majority of uncomplicated installations, a submetering company will usually install the meters 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.Here are the proven benefits of submetering your building’s electrical, water and thermal utilities. 


Electricity Metering


A recent case study conducted by Wyse Meter Solutions monitored a sample of five buildings 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 changes behaviour. 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, meaning these savings will only continue to increase with rising electricity costs.


Water Metering: 


Water submetering can also provide significant savings and efficiency in terms of consumption and cost by changing consumer behavior. Several case studies have proven that installing sub-metering systems encourages residents to install water saving systems to limit their consumption and lower their monthly costs. Due to new and advanced technology, water submetering can now also detect unusual water patterns in the system,allowing the prevention of potential water leaks and freezes which could cause costly water damage. In a case study conducted by Wyse Meter Solutions in which nine townhouse complexes in the Greater Toronto Area were retrofitted with independent water submetering systems, there was a 22 percent average reduction in consumption across all complexes after installation. 


Wyse Meter Solutions Case Study 1: Water Submetering Retrofit 




This indicates that water submetering increases consumer awareness and provides an incentive to conserve. As fresh water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, it is important that building owners take the necessary steps toward reducing consumption. 


BTU (Thermal) Metering:


British Thermal Unit (BTU) Metering allows property owners to capture the cost of heating and cooling for units that isn’t caught by electrical meters. A thermal meter captures thermal energy in a unit in an effort to maintain a comfortable temperature. Advanced BTU metering systems measure the hydronic flow rate and temperature differential across the in-suite HVAC unit. This calculation measures each suite’s actual thermal consumption. 



In response to the complicated and costly nature of traditional wired BTU meters, a new wireless metering technology is available in the Canadian market and is quickly gaining popularity for retrofit and new build projects alike. This new option looks identical to its wired counterpart, but is far less invasive, easier to implement, and works similarly to a water meter, using the same type of transponder. Both the wireless and hard-wired BTU meter is basically a liquid flow meter with a computer attached that converts the amount of energy in terms of British Thermal Units that are released to heat and cool the unit into a kWh equivalent. The new wireless option eliminates the cost of conduit, wiring, and labour costs to run wires, as well as any confusion about which trade will be responsible for wiring installations.


In the following case study, Wyse Meter Solutions completed a thermal metering retrofit project in which a building with 92 units are now being metered and billed for the cost of heating and cooling. 


Case Study by Wyse Meter Solutions: Average kWh Thermal Consumption Over a 6-Month Period in Billed vs. Unbilled Suites



Like other utilities such as electrical and water, thermal metering will boost your net operating income, energy efficiency and sustainability. Through BTU metering, residents reduce costs through reduced consumption, and stop subsidizing their neighbour’s high usage. Submetering is the way of the future for multi-res buildings, and an integral step towards building a more sustainable country and improving your bottom line.


Published November 05, 2019 multiresidential multires submetering energyefficiency propertymanagement newconstruction housing sustainability livegreen utilitymanagement electricity utilitymetering construction landlord


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