Smart Water Meters – The Key To Going Net Zero By 2050

Gain Control, Save Money and Help The Environment


Author: Darren A. Cooper, P.Eng, LEED® AP, CBCP, President Renteknik Group Inc.

With Canada on the path to investing millions of dollars to increase efficiencies, sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint, Smart water meters are stepping-in and replacing conventional, mechanical meters as renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar emerge.

Smart meters offer immediate end-user benefits, such as more accurate and potentially lower bills – based on consumers changing their behaviour due to greater visibility of their consumption. If everyone uses less energy, the reduction in emissions would be considerable and help in obtaining the 2050 emissions targets. 

The days when water was simply consumed without constraint at a low yearly cost is long gone. Water is a precious and limited resource that can and must be metered as accurately as possible.

Visibility

The powerful information your business will gain using smart versus mechanical water metering will allow you to see exactly where your company needs to focus its operational efforts and goals. Remote reading will enable you to eliminate misreading errors and time-consuming follow ups.

Providing real-time updates, smart water meters will allow you to monitor your water usage as it happens. Through an online dashboard, you can understand when and where your water is used. You can view your monthly, daily and real-time consumption in easy to understand graphs.

Access to easy and secure meter data – without having to disturb the end-users will increase the quality of your analytics and makes it easier to report as you review consumption and supply data from readings made at the same time. The increased reading frequency allows you to evaluate your improvements and discover problems a lot sooner and easier, than with traditional mechanical metering, which is typically just once a year. 

You will begin to notice that your energy consumption and carbon emissions will decrease and improve your bottom line by understanding and avoiding peak demand so you can improve your overall building operations.

Savings

Smart water meters are designed to help you reduce excess water usage and take control of your consumption. It is also accurate, quick and simple to use on a daily or weekly basis. Once businesses adopt these methods, they’ll find more opportunities to optimize their water usage, have less waste and save time and money.

Accuracy

Traditional water meters are not only less accurate than smart meters, but they tend to lose accuracy over time as they age. The equipment must be replaced every 15-20 years on average.

One of the biggest water management problems in the utilities industry is inaccurate readings. That’s because they can result in inaccurate billing and many customer complaints.

A smart meter is more sensitive to low water flows, making it noticeably more accurate and providing in-depth reports. In contrast, a traditional water meter measures total consumption of a building or home, meaning leaks are difficult to detect and customers struggle to pinpoint inefficiencies.

Cleaner & Greener

As governments and utilities worldwide look to conserve energy and reduce carbon footprint, they are using wireless Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to transform traditional energy infrastructure into interconnected “smart grids.” Smart metering is an essential element in smart grid implementations.

Improving daily operations is vital for our environment and carbon footprint. Smart metering provides the basis for businesses to improve their daily consumption and overall building operations. With a better understanding of usage, it’s easier to see where small changes can be made to reduce energy consumption and lower energy emissions. This leads to lower bill payments and a smaller carbon footprint.

Smart metering also opens the door to better manage the supply and demand of energy to reduce waste, and also shift energy usage away from traditional peak times, which are currently reliant on fossil fuel energy, making more use of renewables.

Smart meters also provide more flexibility to businesses. By monitoring usage through collecting, analyzing and reporting on consumption, supply and demand, it can then be determined how to save water during peak times or other significant times of the year.

We all want an energy system that is geared to the future, not the past. And to make big changes, sometimes we have to start small. Smart meters can’t solve climate change on their own, but with a smarter, more efficient energy system they help to create a noticeable step in the right direction.

Leak Detection

Imagine a scenario where a company’s heating system is leaking water. If the problem goes unnoticed in the basement of their facility, the building manager is on the hook for thousands of gallons of wasted water.

Now imagine that same building manager has the ability to detect that the water has been running in the basement at this facility for the past twenty-four hours. Detecting, managing and fixing this utility issue can help solve a wasteful situation, that could have gone unnoticed for an extensive amount of time, resulting in an expensive issue and potential water damage.

Traditional water meters do not perform well when it comes to detecting and measuring low flows, missing the mark and signal on detecting leaks. Newer water metering technologies are sensitive to low flows and are therefore more reliable at detecting and reporting leaks.

“Smart Meter With Ears”

The most effective way to find leaks in underground water pipes is with acoustic water leak detection equipment. This new technology allows for audible mechanical vibration if a water leak is present.

Identifying and locating system leaks can be difficult. Acoustic leak-detection technologies use sound waves to help locate leaks in distribution systems and prioritize leak repair by identifying the largest leaks. Having the means to target the problem area(s) for repair or replacement is important for effective building management and water conservation.

A Danish company called Kamstrup sees non-revenue water as one of the main challenges driving innovation, with many utilities locating leaks like “finding a needle in a haystack due to limited knowledge”.

Kamstrup and a third-party agency conducted a survey among 37 utilities in Northern Europe, finding that 31 per cent of the water loss comes from leaks in service connections and 36 per cent from leaks on distribution mains. SOURCE: https://www.aquatechtrade.com/news/article/smart-meters-tech-dive/

Driven by this data and feedback, Kampstrup developed a brand new system that combines smart metering and acoustic leak detection technologies.

The flowIQ 2200, is the “smart water meter with ears”. 

 

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