Michelle Cong is the Sustainability Coordinator at Fanshawe College located in London, Ontario, Canada. The college, similar in size to Arizona State University –Tempe, offers programs to 43,000 students at 4 different campuses every year.
Michelle was dealing with several mysteriously high water bills at the college. Water costs were much higher at one of the buildings (Building D) than similar buildings on campus.
She was trying to uncover the cause of these high water bills by working with the IT department. They analyzed total water costs in the hopes of uncovering some kind of pattern. She had charts and data but couldn’t determine the cause for the excessive water use.
This was not good because without an accurate way to identify savings opportunities, the college was wasting thousands of gallons of water every month. The energy that went into pumping, treating, and heating that water was wasted, too, which created unnecessary CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions. Michelle deeply understood the connection between saving water and saving energy. She wanted to offset the college’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but she needed a smarter water management system.
Water Monitoring Technology Solves Mystery
While doing some research on water use monitoring technologies, Michelle discovered Alert Labs water solutions. The AlertAQ water intelligence gave her water use insights and the water sensors were easy to install without needing to cut pipe or use a WiFi network.
Michelle worked with the Facilities Team and installed water flow sensors at buildings across the campus. One of the installation sites was the troublesome Building D.
After just a few days of reviewing the water use data on AlertAQ, Michelle saw that the base water flow for Building D was high and that the water never seemed to shut off. It would run day and night. Based on the water use pattern she determined that the cause was a faulty cooling tower.
Michelle used these insights to compare water use at different buildings. She began seeing water problems weeks before the college received its water bill. Each email or leak alert that AlertAQ sent to her phone made it possible to reduce wasted water at the college and lower GHG emissions.
In less than a year, AlertAQ’s insights lead to significant savings. Michelle says, “AlertAQ has saved Fanshawe College $100,000 a year.”
The other members of the Facility Team, maintenance plumbers, Jason Melville and Martin Smits, have benefited greatly from AlertAQ. They no longer rely solely on students or staff to report problems like an overflowing toilet. As a result, leak and flood response time shrunk from weeks or months to minutes or hours.
In one instance, the irrigation system for a green roof on one of the buildings malfunctioned and gallons of water came gushing out. Water flow sensors detected the unusual water use pattern and sent a text message alert to the maintenance team. Within hours of the discovery, the irrigation leak was fixed.
Martin Smits says, “The leak on the green roof could have gone on for weeks or months if AlertAQ didn’t catch it. The damage and high water bills would have been significant.”
Jason Melville also appreciates how easy Flowie is to install, stating, “You don’t have to learn a lot of extra things to use the water flow sensors. It’s a really simple installation. And AlertAQ lets you know if it’s a big or small leak. It tells you how many gallons a minute are going through the pipes.”
Alert Labs water solutions are helping thousands of Sustainability and Facility Maintenance Teams for institutional, commercial and residential buildings.