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Tenant Submetering: What Is It and Its Benefits

Living costs are increasing every day. From electricity to water bills, many landlords and property owners are looking for a way to lessen their expenses and increase energy efficiency when it comes to managing their properties.


One example that is becoming popular nowadays is tenant or individual unit submetering. This can help property owners reduce excessive water usage problems.


In this article, we will guide you through tenant submetering. Learn all about what it is, how it works, and which benefits it brings.


What is Tenant Submetering?


Tenant submetering involves the installation of individual meters for each tenant  or apartment unit in a building. These meters keep tabs on the energy or utilities consumed by each tenant or apartment unit, separate from the main utility meter of the property.


Unlike traditional utility metering systems, which typically bill the entire building as a single entity,  submetering individual apartment units disaggregates consumption, ensuring that each tenant pays only for their actual water usage.


man putting money in a jar


Benefits of Using Submetering for Tenants


Why should your tenants stop wasting water? Here's a breakdown.


Fairness and Transparency in Utility Bills


Submetering ensures tenants are billed solely for their actual utility consumption. This approach eliminates the common discrepancies seen in collective or ratio billing systems such as RUBS, where tenants are charged a flat rate regardless of individual usage.


Encouragement of Less Energy Consumption


Submetering also instills a sense of responsibility among tenants. When tenants are made directly accountable for their individual consumption, they are naturally inclined to adopt more efficient practices that have an immediate effect on their ecological footprint, including water usage.


Reduction in Operational Costs


Lower water usage can significantly reduce operational costs for property owners. By encouraging tenants to use water more efficiently, the overall consumption within the property decreases. It can also reduce wear and tear on a building’s plumbing.


Valuable Data for Efficient Property Management


Submetering systems provide property owners with detailed and accurate data. Landlords can collect data and use it to identify inefficiencies, potential leaks, and areas where water conservation measures can be implemented.


How Does Submetering Work?


Each tenant's space is equipped with a submeter that records their individual consumption. These submeters are connected to a central system managed by the property owner or a third-party service provider. 


The submeters provide data that can be used to generate accurate and individualized billing statements for each tenant. This way, each tenant is accountable for their own energy consumption.


explanation of why many buildings can't be submetered

Use Cases of Submetering


Multi-Unit Residential Buildings


Submetering is highly advantageous in multi-unit residential buildings like apartments and condominiums. In these settings, the measured consumption can differ markedly from one unit to another, depending on factors like square footage, number of occupants, and lifestyle habits.


However, many multifamily buildings cannot install traditional submeters because the building plumbing does not have a water main going to each apartment. Instead, the plumbing runs every which way and there simply is no way to effectively install standard submeters. 


But thanks to the IoT revolution, fixture-based micrometers, such as those available from DrizzleX, can be a great solution in buildings where standard submeters won’t work. The full visibility of every fixture’s water usage and the real-time alerts mean you can stop waste immediately. The average building that uses DrizzleX saves 25-45% on its water bill. DrizzleX data can be used to bill your tenants just like a traditional submeter.


Common Areas


Implementing water submetering in common areas of residential buildings, such as laundry rooms, hose bibs, and sprinkler systems, enhances the efficiency of water usage and cost allocation. This level of detailed tracking helps landlords identify areas of excessive water usage, and it paves the way for implementing water-saving strategies.


Is Submetering Worth the Investment?


Is it worth your hard-earned cash, or is it just another piece of hardware that will eat your budget? Consider these points:


  • Long–term cost savings: While the initial setup cost may be substantial, the reduction in overall utility usage leads to lower meter readings over time. For landlords and property owners, this means a direct decrease in operational expenses.

  • Increases property value: Prospective tenants and buyers often consider submetering a modern, fair, and efficient utility management system.

  • Environmental sustainability: Submetering also contributes to environmental sustainability. Tenants who are more aware of their consumption patterns tend to adopt more eco-friendly habits, which results in the reduced overall carbon footprint of the property.

  • Customization and control: Submetering systems offer a high degree of customization and control over utility billing and management. A landlord can tailor billing cycles, rates, and other parameters to suit the specific needs of their property and tenants.


How DrizzleX Can Help You


DrizzleX home page

DrizzleX allows you to detect hidden leaks, such as running toilets and leaky faucets, to stop millions of gallons of waste each year. It also alerts you to tenants' excessive water overuse.

Typically, buildings that use DrizzleX reduce their water bills by 25-45% or more. And you can expect a pretty quick return on investment (ROI). Buildings with DrizzleX save enough water to cover the entire cost of DrizzleX within about 9 months on average.


DrizzleX can be installed very easily even in buildings that don’t have water mains going to each apartment unit. 


Usage Alerts


One of Drizzlex's solutions is usage alerts. Since many people aren't really aware of their excessive water usage, the alerts can be very helpful. With this system, you can communicate with your tenants about their water consumption habits and back them up with precise data, too.


Leak Detection


Leaks can be sneaky because they aren't always visible. With property inspection, you can see the obvious ones. But silent leaks will only show up on your utility bills. DrizzleX gives you water control because you can monitor water usage in your building.

 

The system will notify you about where and how much water is being lost.


E-mail Notifications


Once DrizzleX spots the leak, it will notify you via email. The message you receive will include all the details about the exact apartment and fixture that is the culprit, how many gallons were used, how much it will cost you if the problem isn't fixed, and even possible causes for the water waste and how to fix it.


Billing


DrizzleX also allows you to bill your tenants. Tenants conserve water when they are the ones paying for it. You can easily create water bills based on accurate water consumption and bill them fairly.



FAQs About Tenant Submetering


Will submetering disrupt my billing period or current utility setup?

Submetering won't disrupt your current utility setup at all. The submeters are installed alongside your existing utility meters to provide more detailed measurements.


How long does it take to see a return on investment?

The payback period depends on factors like utility rates in your area and how much more granular data helps you optimize usage. But for most, the upfront cost pays for itself quickly in utility bill savings.


Can submetering be used for both old and new properties?

Submeters can be installed on any property, old or new. The process involves basic wiring and doesn't require major construction.


Can tenants remove the submeter?

Only authorized technicians should install, maintain, or remove the devices. Submeters are usually placed in secure areas.



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