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What is Utility Submetering?
Sub metering is a utility system that lets a landlord or building owner break down utility use based on individual unit consumption. These systems typically cover water use, electricity or gas consumption. That use may be broken down by individual unit, or even by heavy use items such as HVAC equipment.
Installing a submetering system allows the manager, such as a landlord, condominium association, homeowners association, or other property management firm to bill individually for each unit's share of the utilities. Sub metering can be installed for all kinds of utilities, ranging from water submetering to gas and electric.
In the past, a property manager passed on the cost of utilities to each occupant involved in a rental agreement at a specific location, by dividing out the monthly utility fee based on the square footage in each individual rental space. This is considered a ratio utility billing system.
This is not ideal. It leads to an unfair disbursement of cost.
"Installing a submetering system allows a property manager... to bill units individually for their share of the utilities. Submetering can be installed for all kinds of utilities, including water, gas, and electricity."
Although sub metering is now nationally recognized as a superior means of measuring energy consumption in a multi-use facility, some multi-unit properties still have a single meter or “master meter” that has been installed by the utility company. The master meter measures the monthly consumption of all units without breaking apart individual usage. This burdens the property owner with the task of manually splitting the bill and collecting fees.
This approach leaves property managers scratching their heads on how to split bills fairly. Without a way to split a bill based on individual usage, most property managers will split the utility bills equally, or simply divide out by square footage. This is true even if some tenants are big users while other work hard to conserve their individual usage.
This is where FlowRite Submetering can save time, money, and even energy.
FlowRite can save you time by separating electric, gas, and water usage fairly! We can even help with sewer usage and sewer costs. We will help you track utility use by consumption using individual meters helping you save money. You won’t have to spend time with complex math equations or heavy manual processes.
We are able to save you money! You won’t be required to hire resources to divide the bills and collect from each unit separately. We are also able to save energy usage simply by using the system properly. In fact, Habitat magazine reports that, based on studies by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), you can save on electric usage through sub metering.
“NYSERDA estimates that residents, when paying for their own electricity via submetering, use between 15 and 30 percent less electricity."
FlowRite Submetering is your utilities management solution! With us, you will see a huge positive impact on your tenants, your business, and possibly your sanity. It doesn't matter what kind of commercial structure you own. We can help you with apartment buildings. Using our services will introduce a fair utility billing service with efficient collection of utility fees. This enables a win-win scenario that results in long-term savings benefits for everyone, plus less stress and lower costs for the property management team.
How Does It Work?
FlowRite Installation experts will go to the multi-tenant facility and provide discreet, high-quality installation of all submetering components, like a water submeter, for each unit or sub-metered location. Our experts only use the highest-quality and most reliable equipment from the leading manufacturers of utility metering and electronic data collection components. Our equipment is highly automated. It requires a minimum amount of effort on the part of the property manager. We can supply cutting-edge wireless technology that makes meter reading fast and easy. Property managers who aren’t bogged down with complicated utility bills and worries about utility management have more time to dedicate to their many other roles.
Let’s look at a simple scenario of how submetering can change your utility distribution process for the better:
Tenant A has temperature sensitive computer servers that must be cooled around the clock. If the servers heat above a specified temperature, important data could be lost. Before submetering is installed, the cost of this continual cooling is passed on to Tenants B, C and D in the building. Even though these tenants use very little utilities outside of business hours, the cost has nonetheless been passed to them based on square footage rather than usage.
Submetering is installed. Now, the utility cost for Tenants B, C, and D goes down considerably, and tenant A receives a bill noting their exact energy expenditure. Now all of the tenants know exactly how much energy they are using. Tenants B, C, and D are happy to see their bills have come down.
The benefits don’t stop there! Tenant A decides that they will make purchases or adjustments that will allow them to begin using less energy over time. In addition, Tenants B, C and D decide they’d like to use less energy, too. The bill has been more fairly divided, the tenants have reduced their personal energy consumption, and the property owner has time available to deal with other issues. Everyone benefits, even Mother Nature!
How Can Submetering Save Time?
Submetering has traditionally been a challenging process for owners of multi-tenant properties. Older equipment was not automated. It required a highly manual process. Landlords would be responsible for reading each electric, sewer and water meter then performing the calculations to arrive at fees for the tenants. When tenants received bills that were overages, it could become a game of hot potato on who was responsible for creating the error and fixing it. This led to dissatisfied tenants and loop of error and inefficiency.
Managing the utilities for a property is only one of the many roles a landlord must perform, however, it can take a ton of time and energy if the best equipment and services have not been put into place. For landlords or owners who are responsible for multiple properties, the cost and time it takes to handle utilities at multiple sites can be enormous. Having one single provider for submetering installation, maintenance and reading can simplify the process immensely, leaving time for the many other hats a property owner must wear. FlowRite Submetering will simplify your utility process, saving you time and creating greater efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Submetering?
There are many monthly operating expenses involved in multi-tenant facilities. However, most of the time there is none so great as utility expenses. Utility costs continue to rise, making matters worse. More and more property managers are turning to utility submetering for its many benefits. These include:
- Charge based on their individual usage
- Provides ability to monitor, track and control personal utility usage
- Provides incentive to conserve utility usage
- Reduces Administrative costs & effort
- Saves money while recovering utility costs
- Increases Property value through upgrade investment
- Increases net operational income
From new construction to retrofits, older residential or a newer commercial structure, from strip malls to a multi-resident townhouse community, a small duplex, or a multi-floor High rise. Single or multiple dwelling unit residential structure or a condominium complex, FlowRite Metering will partner with you to make certain that the installation of your metering system is performed to our exacting standards and your complete satisfaction. When considering having work of this nature done, remember that Sub Meters should be installed by licensed and qualified plumbers and or electrical contractors. We can work with your licensed contractor or recommend one to you.
When it comes to metering systems no two properties, property managers, or landlords are exactly alike the same is true about metering systems. Let Flow Rite assess your needs and the property in question. We will provide you with a recommendation for a tailored package that will work best for you.
Our assessment is thorough and will take into account the level of complexity you need to improve your utility measurement and billing processes. From water usage to monitoring a sanitary sewer system we have you covered.
Having access to data from your submeters won’t be of much use to you if you do not have an effective and accurate way of retrieving and correlating it. In many buildings all across this great country, maintenance engineers will be performing the oh so familiar monthly rite of walking to each and every meter in the building, with clipboard in hand, and recording the numbers on the outside of each and every box. This is time-consuming and a process that is extremely error prone as the clipboard approach to collecting data is vulnerable to errors that could very well cause significant losses, not to mention that with today’s technology it’s also a complete waste of time.
Fortunately, for today’s maintenance engineers there are modern solutions to this problem that circumvent the long-walk-with-clipboard in hand entirely thus eliminating the losses created by inaccurately recorded data.
There are many types of meters available today that are capable of reporting the data that they have collected. One such meter is a pulse enabled systems. This means that the meters have the ability to convert their data into a digital pulse for output. An example of this is might be a pulse-enabled electric meter. This meter can be configured to send a pulse for every kilowatt-hour that passes through the wire that it is measuring. The computer that reads the pulses knows that, if 20 pulses are read in the span of an hour, the building used 20 kW. These pulses then are routed to a digital gateway that sends them via the internet to a computer waiting to interpret and store them.
Another type of meters use communications protocols to transfer information instead of pulses. This is a more reliable approach that allows for more detailed and accurate information to be transferred than just consumption data.
Real-time data is extremely useful to modern energy management. These systems pull data from meters then transmit it over the internet to the cloud for storage. From there, it can be presented in up-to-the-minute accurate detail. This accurate, up-to-the-minute detailed information makes it possible to send alerts when something is behaving improperly or flat out failing, investigating spikes in usage, or determining there are leaks while they are occurring and making adjustments to compensate in real time.
As time passes and technology improves, new and better metering technology will be introduced. We are already seeing new meters that measure variables, like air quality. As the costs for these new meters decreases they will start finding their way into use in modern buildings.
Environmental sensors like these may not help companies reduce utility costs, but some tenants will find them invaluable for the gains in productivity that they facilitate. For example low air quality has been associated with lower productivity and a higher than normal number of sick days that are being taken.
Traditional meters are also improving and becoming more cost effective. This means that instead of just a water meter that measures water consumption, or the gallons of water used to help determine sewer rates for a sewer customer account, more profitable uses for them will become available. At present, submetering is mostly limited to important pieces of equipment and large tenant spaces. This isn’t a technical problem with the equipment, it is just that generally submetering is too expensive for use in smaller spaces or less important equipment, but as meters become cheaper and more affordable, they will become the solution by which maintenance engineers and property management teams will be able to manage their properties more effectively.
Eventually, advances in technology will allow automatic operational changes to buildings based on submeter data. As this technology continues to improve, more and more processes will be trusted to computers. Someday in the not too distant future, buildings will become a closed loop that will allow their human teams to focus on repairs, maintenance, and bettering relationships with tenants, while utility management and use is optimized by a computer.
Imagine with the installation of water meters by a plumbing expert a system is created where the number of gallons of water used for landscaping needs are controlled by smart meters. This would help to control now much water is used and help to defray sewer costs making your sewer service more cost effective.
Choose the Best Submetering Company
Flow Rite Metering has over 14 years experience in submetering throughout the United States. We offer the most best, most updated equipment. Record keeping is fully digital and does not require the landlord or owner to perform extensive manual readings. The amount of time saved by the property manager or owner is significant, and it multiplies over the years. What was once a heavily manual process is simplified. Simplicity is the friend to efficiency!