- 32 storeys
- 174 apartments
- 5 commercial lots
- completed 1995
- approximately 700 residents
- 16 basement parking levels
- 2 lifts
- 2 plant rooms
- heated pool, spa, sauna and steam room
- rooftop water holding tank; water lift and pressure pumps
- central gas hot water system
Hyde Park Towers reduced its water consumption by 20% saving over $10,000 annually. It continues to proactively monitor and manage consumption to quickly address problems if they arise.
Hyde Park Towers’ building manager Allan Hoy has proactively managed water consumption since 2006.
There is only one water meter for the entire building and the owners corporation pays for building-wide water consumption through its administrative fund. Only 27% of apartments are owner-occupied, and the absence of individual meters means there is no financial incentive for tenants to be conscious of their personal water consumption.
Since 2006 they’ve saved over $60,000 and there’s still more to come…
The building’s main meter is located in a lower plant room and feeds the pool, car park and roof tank. The roof tank subsequently feeds all plant equipment, the central hot water system and all apartments.
The hydraulic system is heavily interconnected between levels, but feeds are split out of the roof tank to feed gravity and pressurised zones.
The cold water supply is pressurised for levels 23-30, and gravity fed for the lower levels. There are also pressure reduction stations on levels 6 and 15.
Building-wide WaterFix® (2006)
Hyde Park Towers was the first building in Sydney Water’s area of operations to implement a campaign for all units to receive a WaterFix®.
At that time, the WaterFix® service entailed:
- installing a new 3-star showerhead OR installation of a flow regulator to make existing showerheads more efficient (where the existing showerhead’s flow rate is more than 9 L/min)
- fitting 3-star water efficient aerators or flow regulators in the kitchen and bathroom taps to make existing taps more efficient (where an existing tap’s flow rate is more than 9 L/min)
- fixing any minor leaks that can be repaired within the appointment time
- adjusting the float valve or installing a water saving cistern weight in any single flush toilets
The owners corporation covered the costs ($22 per bathroom) rather than leave it to individual owners.
Residents were given two or three notices about the program, asking them to provide a key for access or to be at home at a certain time. There was a 95% participation rate – with only three units declining and three others already having water efficient fittings.
The work commenced on 20th March 2006 and was completed on 5th April 2006.
59 apartments were identified as having tap and toilet leaks that could not be repaired within the appointment time. Although most of those repairs were the responsibility of individual owners, Allan obtained a quotation from the building’s plumber to undertake as many repairs as possible at the one time and co-ordinated billing with the relevant owners. This not only reduced costs for individual owners but also eliminated further delays inherent in waiting for owners to organise the repairs themselves, particularly in tenanted apartments. The most common repairs needed were:
- replacing kitchen mixers
- replacing toilet inlet & outlet valves
- repairing broken pipes
The WaterFix® services cost the owners corporation $3,850. Approximately $1,500 was also spent on plumbers to fix leaks and other issues that were identified on common property.
Water consumption in the building was reduced by around 20% - with a payback period of just under 2 years and annual savings of $10,500 (at the 2012-2013 cost of $2.13/Kl). Those savings don’t include associated energy savings because less water is being pumped around the building, and reduced gas costs for residents attributable to hot water savings from shower replacements.
The subsequent quarterly consumption graph shows relatively consistent water use overall:
Water Usage Reminders (on going)
When water consumption starts to rise again without any obvious causes, notices are posted to remind residents about ways to conserve water. The notices are produced in six languages. This simple action always has positive results. Some examples are:
Annual Inspections (2012 onwards)
Because leaks can develop at any time and flow regulators and other fittings wear out over time, it’s important to pro-actively manage the condition of water fixtures and fittings.
In 2012 Allan implemented the first of what will be an annual program to check on any problems developing in apartments and have them fixed before they escalate. The checks were done at the same time as the annual fire inspection to minimise disruption to residents and ensure access to the majority of apartments.
Because the time spent inside each apartment for a fire inspection is relatively short, and also because multiple inspectors are on the go at the same time, 3 plumbers were engaged to work alongside each of the fire inspectors. In each apartment they:
- Checked and replaced any worn or missing flow regulators
- Replaced worn tap washers
- Identified any major leaks
Arrangements for any necessary repairs were then coordinated with the relevant owners.
Smart Green Apartments - Water Audit (2012)
Because Hyde Park Towers was already at the forefront in implementing many new sustainability initiatives, it was chosen as one the 5 pilot buildings to help shape and inform the City of Sydney’s Smart Green Apartments program. A water audit conducted as part of that program shed further light on its water consumption.
Average daily water consumption was determined to be:
Comparison with the benchmark guidelines developed from Sydney Water’s 2009-2010 study of water use in high rise apartment buildings indicated that consumption was high compared to other buildings and there was still room for improvement (and further savings).
Monitoring data also verified that the cooling tower was operating efficiently and that there was minimal hot water leakage. It was not possible however to determine cold water leakage or pinpoint potential savings without additional sub-metering.
Sub-metering (2013)5 sub-meters providing 24 hour online access to data are now installed. The sub-meters allow for separate investigation of water consumption and timely leak detection for different sections of the building:
- Main meter
- Commercial tenants
- Cooling Tower
- Levels 7-13
- Levels 15-29
- Levels 30-32 (estimated)
- Pool (estimated)
Already the results have provided a better understanding of what’s happening in the building and highlighted consumption discrepancies in a particular section, which can now be investigated further.
The breakdown of monthly consumption confirms that there are no current issues with the pool, commercial tenants and cooling tower, and that 95% of all water consumption is inside apartments.
When consumption for different sections of apartments is compared with Sydney Water’s benchmark (litres/bedroom/day), on average apartments on levels 15-29 appear to be consuming 65-90% more than those in other sections of the building.
Further investigation is under way.
The sub-meters cost $7,542 to install and once the current issue has been tracked down they will have paid for themselves.
Watch this space to see what happens next!