Environmentally friendly living – simple solutions to reduce water consumption.
As our climate changes, our population increases and our lifestyles become more leisure orientated, there is an ever-increasing demand for water.
Although the financial cost of supplying and cleaning water is relatively low, to some householders it is still a significant expenditure and the environmental impact is considerable - up to 40gm of carbon for each 1m3, whether that’s making it ready for consumption or to return it to the environment.
The Department of the Environment have recognized that whilst the Water Companies have a responsibility to reduce leakage, the general public will have to develop a greater awareness of the value of this limited resource. A twin track approach of reducing leakage and demand management has been recognized as the only viable option.
Water Meters – supporting behavioural change
The national average consumption is 141 litres of water per day, which needs to be reduced by around one third. On average people reduce consumption by around 33 litres per day if on a water meter – a long way towards the target.
Many properties have architectural or water supply structures that make traditional metering options impractical. Groundbreaker is an insulated, surface mounted enclosure for a secure water management system and smart water meter. This point of entry location makes it the perfect solution for installation in existing properties with shared supply or challenging architecture means. Its location on the building also means no street furniture or liability in the highway.
The main advantages of the surface mounted system are the single joint free connection and the above ground location of the meter housing. Compliance with no joint policies has been shown to contribute to minimising leakage, in particular customer side leakage, which can cause issues to both the landlord and water provider.
In addition, the surface mounted meter housing is ideal for future ultra-smart (5G) two-way metering and ‘internet of things’ (IOT) technologies due to the stronger communications signal strength relative to underground meter installation.
Controlled flow - unconscious consumption reduction
‘Time controlled’ usage e.g. cleaning teeth, taking a shower or running a hose pipe, can use excessive water. The simple measure of regulating the flow and pressure of the wate supply to a particular outlet has been shown to significantly impact of household usage.
Single outlet flow restrictors can impact on this use, and low flow shower heads or aerators for taps are widely available. However, not all householders are happy with the limited supply and individual attachments can be replaced.
Our water companies are regulated to provide a minimum level of water, but in many areas due to network structure and gravity fed systems supply is much greater. So run a hose for five minutes at the bottom of the hill, and your lawn will be greener that the gardener that does the same at the top. These ‘time controlled’ uses could be standardised down if all households received the same acceptable, ‘minimum’ supply. It’s estimated that this simple measure can reduce household usage by 2-3%.
Groundbreaker’s NRv2 Check Valve system can help modulate the level of flow entering customer premises – regardless of network pressure, meaning a reduction in the level of water used by customers when ‘variable use’ appliances (i.e. showers, taps, hosepipes). As the flow of water into the premises is limited, then the amount used by the customer is also limited – but without providing a degradation of service, and more importantly not requiring any intervention or behavioural change on the part of the customer, leading to ‘natural’ reduction in per capital consumption.
The NRv2 can be easily and simply retrofitted to any meter installation, or meter exchange when upgrading or remediating underground meter chambers. Thus, allowing water demand management with little or no impact on consumers and at minimal cost.
In partnership with water providers
Water companies are keen to work with developers to provide low consumption options, and in some cases can provide discounted infrastructure charges for new developments demonstrating significant water conversation interventions.
Full instruction including training videos of surface mounted meter housings can be found at the Groundbreaker website
Groundbreaker Systems won the HBF’s ‘Utility of the Year’ in 2018.