Sydney’s Crown Gardens, a luxurious, resort style residential strata building has installed the SmartMeter solution from Watersave Australia to monitor and manage water usage. 

Located just minutes from the Sydney CBD, Botanic Gardens and the bustling suburbs of Darlinghurst and Paddington, the complex has 134 luxury apartments and a café, beautiful gardens with a heated outdoor/outdoor pool and a full time concierge service.

The Building Manager, Colin Volkofsky from Sydney based building management company Volkofsky & Brown manages the common area facilities in conjunction with the Strata Manager on behalf of the owners and reports directly to The Executive Committee. Besides maintaining the good condition of the Common Property, great effort is made to continually improve the performance and/or efficiency of the building and facilities.

The building complex installed the Watersave SmartMeter solution in March 2013 with a view to reducing overall water usage on site. Building Manager Colin Volkofsky explained that they needed to monitor existing water usage patterns to gain an understanding of consumption figures so that changes could be proposed. The SmartMeter provided a simple and cost effective solution, generating the data required to measure, monitor and manage water consumption across all buildings. Simple to install, Watersave SmartMeters offer automatic leak detection, alerting the manager in the event of abnormal water usage.

Crown Gardens uses six wireless devices to record the usage for the main water meter, the hot water meter, the combined pool and water feature meter, the irrigation meter and the two rooftop cooling towers. 

Since installation of the SmartMeter solution, the complex has been able to detect and resolve several instances of water loss. One example of excessive water usage was associated with a faulty ball float for the pool water supply, which was found to be continuously filling with water. The excessive water use for the pool could not be detected as it was running to the sewer from the overflow located inside the balance tank. The SmartMeter solution’s automated alarm system alerted the Building Manager to the unusual event, which was immediately acted upon. 

The SmartMeter also helped detect that energy reduction measures implemented to significantly decrease electricity consumption had an adverse result on water consumption. The condenser water pumps and cooling towers of the system would automatically shut down whenever the ambient temperature fell below 15°C, causing the water within the cooling tower fill (plastic louvres) to drop back down and overfill the sump of each tower resulting in hundreds of litres pouring down the overflows. 

The SmartMeter’s alarm system also alerted the Building Manager to excessive water being used by one of the rooftop cooling towers. After an initial water spike showing 47 L/Min, water usage settled at approximately 7 L/Min, accumulating to approximately 10,000 litres per day (a 5-fold increase on normal water usage at 2,000 L per day). 

After checking the contractor records the Building Manager discovered that the cooling towers had been cleaned on the day that the excessive water use first occurred. A normally unused supply water valve for one of the cooling towers was discovered not to have been shut off correctly causing the tank to refill continuously. As soon as this valve was fully closed, regular daily consumption patterns resumed at Crown Gardens. 

According to Colin Volkofsky, the SmartMeter Solution’s threshold alerts are acted upon to ensure daily water consumption does not fall outside normal water usage patterns. The information is also used to perform an accurate cost benefit analysis for the future installation of a water recycling plant for garden irrigation and a solar pre-heat system for domestic hot water.

Watersave Australia delivers sustainable water management solutions for Residential and Commercial Strata buildings. The Watersave SmartMeter solution offers a complete picture of water usage in a building providing a snapshot of how water and costs are being managed. Building and Strata Managers benefit from accurate data and real time analysis of water usage in apartments, commercial units, air conditioning cooling towers, gardens and communal areas.