UBC Graduate Research

Effectiveness of multi-family hot and cold water sub-metering of buildings in UNA neighborhoods Velazquez, Adriana


In 2009 the average water usage in British Columbia was 353 liters/day/capita for residential costumers, including both single-family homes and multi-residential buildings (MURBs). However in municipalities with volume-based water charges, enabled by meters, the average residential consumption rate was significantly lower at 229 liters/capita/day. Although metering with commercial costumers is more widespread, the use of water meters has increased over the past few decades nationwide and has already reached one third of the residential sector in British Columbia. To ensure lower consumption of water, among other resources, and for more efficient energy use performance compared with standard counterparts, all residential buildings on campus constructed after 2006 have to comply with UBC’s building rating system, the Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP). However, as in the case of the US Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating System, REAP does not guarantee optimal performance in the post-occupancy phase. This project was undertaken in partnership with the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA), the UBC Campus Sustainability office and UBC Properties Trust to assess sub-metering technology performance in UBC’s multi-residential buildings. This was done using actual consumption data for total water consumption from UBC Utilities and from suite meters’ readings, in addition to other relevant information such as building floor plans and record drawings. The main purpose of this study is to analyze water consumption of six UBC’s faculty and staff housing buildings (two of them with a hot/cold water sub-metering system installed) and three market rental buildings within campus and UNA jurisdiction. In addition, the project explores the environmental and cost effectiveness of making people aware of their actual consumption, through sub-metering, and whether it might have an important role in fostering water conservation. The average total water consumption for the sub-metered buildings was found to be 330 liters/day/unit and for non-metered buildings was 612 liters/day/unit. The average hot water consumption for the sub-metered buildings was found to be around 130 liters/day/unit, with no significant differences between charging tenants and just informing them about their water use. For a more accurate usage analysis on hot water savings, temporary individual suite meters for domestic hot water on selected units on baseline buildings would be required. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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