We sat down with Canadian Home Plumbing’s Doug Thompson to talk water conservation tactics.
Water budgets and water consumption in Condominium buildings is starting to hit the radar of astute Boards of Directors and Property Managers. What can be done to combat this problem?
Most of the options available such as low flow shower heads and aerators on faucets affect people’s life styles. Unit owners tend to enjoy their ten minute shower in the morning before their hectic day begins, and Canadian Home Plumbing looks for solutions that don’t change lifestyles of residents in the community.
How have the water rate increases by Municipal Water Providers affected budgeting for today’s condominium boards?
Water rates are increasing annually in the GTA by close to 10%. This places a lot of additional stress on the budgets of many condos that have water costs as part of their common element fees. When I started in this industry water was in the bottom three line items of every budget, now with the annual water rate increases water is in the top three expenses.
What are Boards doing to combat this problem?
The most effective solution we have found to date is retro fitting the existing toilets in the community to make them more efficient while at the same time avoiding affecting the lifestyle of the residents. These retro fits usually have a return on investment of less than 18 months and many as quick as 12 months. The goal is to stop all of the leaks in suite and reduce the water consumption back to where it should be.
Based on your knowledge of the industry, do you see boards moving from being reactive to proactive when it comes to utilities expenses and how to control these rising costs?
Utilities are a major driving factor in the increasing of common element fees, which all residents pay. Boards face escalating Hydro, Gas and Water costs. Efficiencies in these areas have been top of mind for most Boards for a few years now. Many lighting and building equipment retro fits have been placed to help reduce the costs of Water, Hydro and Gas. Simply put – doing nothing is no longer an option.
Are Boards of Directors solely fiscally motivated or do environmental factors also impact their decision making process?
If you can be Green and also save money it is a win win situation. With interest rates at historical lows, funds in the bank are earning cost to or less than the current inflation rate. Therefore, if a solution has a return on investment in less than 5 years the Board should seriously consider the project.