85 Epping Road, Macquarie Park
In the month of January 2017, one of the buildings from the Buildings Alive program which showed outstanding results was 85 Epping Road in Macquarie Park. Rather than its electricity results, in this month’s article we look at the savings made by rapid identification and remediation of one of the most insidious problems facing building operators and managers: water leaks.
Water leaks are generally difficult to detect, slowly and silently pouring both a limited environmental resource and significant sums of money down the drain. Due to the number of mechanical devices in the average commercial building’s plumbing system, water is rarely comprehensively metered, and leaks can sometimes go unnoticed until the building manager sees a significantly higher bill at the end of the month (or quarter).
- Two office towers
- NLA: 31,175m²
- Floors: 7 tenancy floors in each tower
- Built: 2005
- Location: Macquarie Park, Sydney, NSW
- Owner: Goodman
- Commenced with Buildings Alive’s REF Service: 29 August 2014 (for electricity) and 17 November 2015 (for water)
The Problem and Its Solution
With the help of Buildings Alive through our daily water consumption monitoring and analysis service, the Facilities Management team at 85 Epping Road, Macquarie Park quickly identified a significant leak that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
1 (below). A daily REF water message showing normal consumption before the leak. The consumption for that day (blue line) closely matches the expected profile (green line – expected water usage for that building under similar weather conditions).
2 (below). The daily REF water message on the day of the leak. The message immediately showed the dramatic increase in water consumption against the weather adjusted comparison. Once alerted, the Facilities Management team immediately investigated, and identified a stuck ball valve in the cooling tower as the root cause. This was fixed within a couple of hours by the contractors, SAS water.
3 (below). The daily message after the leak. You can see the consumption return to the normal profile as the leak is resolved. The daily REF water message allowed the rapid feedback necessary to identify, treat, and confirm resolution of this leak.
Potential medium term impacts on water consumption and costs
If the water leak in this case was left unnoticed until the end of the billing period, it would have resulted in the consumption of a significant amount of additional water as shown below, and incurred an additional charge of approximately $20,400 for each 30-day period (for extra water usage of around 8,500 kL). Further, the building’s NABERS water rating would be adversely affected, perhaps as much as dropping a single star if left running for an entire 2 or 3 billing cycles.
Long term benefits from building water performance monitoring
Daily monitoring of building water consumption through a service such as Buildings Alive’s REF assists building managers and operators:
- Identify inefficiencies and opportunities to save water and associated costs.
- Recognize where the building is using water and to easily identify patterns and changes.
- Set meaningful water efficiency goals and performance indicators.
- Communicate water conservation messages and outcomes to tenants.
- Plan regular and preventive maintenance schedules.
- Contribute to broader environmental impact reduction plans at an organisational level.