Annual water and financial savings certainly exceeded expectations at Richmond on the Fairway…
The 243-unit apartment complex, located on more than 30 acres in Lawrenceville, Georgia, contains 26 one to three story buildings, three swimming pools, and three laundry rooms.
The complex, built in 1976, still had the original plumbing fixtures – 3.5 GPF toilets, 2.5 GPM showerheads, and 2.5 GPM aerators – although a few toilets and showerheads had been replaced over the years with slightly more efficient models.
The water and sewer needs of the complex are serviced by Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources, which has some of the highest water and sewer rates in the country. The water department helped in the implementation of the retrofit plan by providing free toilet and cardboard recycling and assistance in completing water conservation efforts. In January 2013, the water and sewer bills had hit a high of $28,723.84 and the corresponding water usage for 31 days was 2,218,437 gallons.
The necessity to save water and money on utility bills was clear, so the community reached out to the Apartment Water Management Company, LLC to assist with financing and installation of high-efficiency conservation products. In May 2013, 481 bathrooms were retrofitted with 481 WaterSense® labeled Ultra-High-Efficiency-Technology® 0.8 GPF Stealth® toilets, 302 1.5 GPM Earth® showerheads, 705 1.5 GPM aerators, water supply lines, and wax rings from Niagara Conservation.
When the work was completed on June 7, 2013, 481 toilets, 302 showerheads, and 705 aerators had been replaced. With the completed retrofit, along with efforts to conserve water and lower bills by repairing swimming pools and a main line water valve,* Richmond lowered the monthly water usage at the complex by 48% since January 2013. The lower usage translated into monthly savings of $12,897.62.
With a traditional payment schedule and a cost of $350 per water unit, the payback period for the retrofit project was projected at fourteen and a half months.
While monitoring the Richmond project, there has been no evidence of excessive sewer stoppages due to the retrofit, and the water and sewer bills do not indicate double-flushing or improper use of the newly installed toilets by the residents.
In addition to the annual savings of $140,000, the property value has increased five to seven times the savings number.