Federation Square remains one of the most high profile architectural pieces in the centre of Melbourne's CBD and although it was completed more than a decade ago the innovative use of materials and approach to sustainability remains relevant.

Lab architecture in partnership with Bates Smart were the designers behind the Square which sits on a 38,000 sqm city block and has the iconic triangle fractal fa├žade made up of glass, sandstone and zinc.

A key water management initiative comes via a Watersave SmartMeter System, which was installed in collaboration with City West Water.

The result has been an increased understanding of Federation Square's overall water use and a more proactive approach to water management.

Above graph from the Watersave SmartMeter System. Does not reflect water usage at Fed Square but shows total monthly water usage across multiple sites in a property portfolio.

The SmartMeter works by delivering water usage information through a secure website which enables any problems to be picked up on by the team who can then find a solution as efficiently as possible.

A recent example of the SmartMeter System's leak detection ability was highlighted when its automatic alarm system detected and alerted the operations team to significant unexplained water use of nearly 14,000 litres in a 15 minute period.

Closer inspection revealed a failure with one of the cooling towers resulting in significant excessive water use. 

Timely notification of the problem meant that the operations team could isolate the issue immediately. Had the water leak gone undetected for a couple of days, water usage could have exceeded 2 million litres, equivalent to $7,356 in excess water charges (at City West Water pricing).

Mark Bullen, manager of operations at Federation Square says, "One of the real values of the Watersave SmartMeter system is the timeliness of water usage data. Abnormal usage is generally detected within 15-30 minutes enabling us to work proactively to manage our water consumption and water costs."

Federation Square: Image by John Gollings