College Saves $100,000 with Water Flow Sensor

February 14, 2020
Michelle poses with Flowie Box and Computer in bkdg


Michelle Cong is a Sustainability Coordinator at Fanshawe College which offers programs to 43,000 students at 4 different campuses every year. She used to read the college’s water bills to find ways to save money and conserve water. The bills did not have enough information and the water costs did not go down. The plumbing team installed Alert Labs solutions at campus buildings which identified savings of more than $100,000 a year. These savings can help offset greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

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Fanshawe College is saving more than $100,000 in water costs every year thanks to the AlertAQ™ water intelligence platform.

“Alert Labs solutions have saved Fanshawe College $100,000 a year.”

- Michelle Cong, Sustainability Coordinator, Fanshawe College

Lowering greenhouse gases and saving water

Michelle Cong is continually exploring ways to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and energy waste. She feels water consumption receives less attention than it deserves. The distribution and treatment of water need energy. Michelle looks for water inefficiencies to help reduce the college’s operating costs and offset Scope 3—indirect—GHG emissions.

“Using AlertAQ is a great way to help lower GHGs and reduce utility costs. I would recommend AlertAQ to any sustainability director or organization.”

- Michelle Cong, Sustainability Coordinator, Fanshawe College

Water bills not enough

The IT department at the college analyzed all of the college’s water bills. Michelle and the sustainability team used the analyses to identify savings opportunities. Michelle had charts and data that compared water costs, but there were 2 big problems with this approach.

First, the information from the water bills was old. If there was a problem such as a leak, the college wouldn’t know for months. This caused high water bills that could not be explained. Second, there was still a lot of manual analysis that needed to be done. Michelle looked for a better system.

Fanshawe College Case Study Building D Cooling Towers Dashboard Water Timeline highlighted
The Alert Labs Water Timeline shows the amount of water usage before and after the cooling tower problem was fixed. Savings amount to over $100,000 every year.

AlertAQ™ identifies huge savings

The Fanshawe College maintenance team installed Alert Labs solutions at buildings across the campus. One of the installation sites was Building D. This building had higher than usual water bills. Minute-by-minute water use data from AlertAQ showed a very high base flow for this building. The usage was high at all times during the day. The college used this data to discover savings of over $100,000 a year.

Easy-to-use dashboard

Michelle uses the Alert Labs Dashboard to compare water usage over a variety of time periods. She can see water problems before the college receives their water bill. Flowie sends emails and leak alerts to her phone. The maintenance team also knows about problems such as abnormal water usage faster than they could before Flowie was installed.

“Flowie lets you know if it’s a big or small leak. It tells you how many gallons a minute are going through the pipes.”

- Jason Melville, Maintenance Plumber, Fanshawe College

Smarter asset prevention with AlertAQ™

Before AlertAQ, the college handled leaks and floods differently. Students or staff would see an overflowing toilet and tell the maintenance team. Plumbers could only fix the problems that were seen and reported. Leaks could waste water and cause damage for weeks or months before the maintenance team knew about them. The college ended up paying for high water bills and repair costs long after they fixed the leaks. Since AlertAQ was installed, leak and flood response time has shrunk from weeks or months to within minutes or hours.

"You don't have to learn a lot of extra things to use AlertAQ. It's a really simple installation."

- Jason Melville, Maintenance Plumber, Fanshawe College

Green roof saved

Fanshawe College supports green initiatives. There are solar panels throughout the campus. The college also has a green roof to reduce energy costs and boost efficiency. AlertAQ helped protect it from water damage. The roof’s irrigation system malfunctioned and gallons of water were gushing out. AlertAQ detected the unusual water usage pattern and alerted the maintenance team. Within hours of the discovery, the irrigation leak was fixed.

Green Roof of Building D at Fanshawe College exudes a verdant splendour the elevates the soul
The green roof at Fanshawe College was saved thanks to early water use detection from AlertAQ.

“The leak on the green roof could have gone on for weeks or months if AlertAQ didn’t catch it. The damage and high water bills would have been significant.”

- Martin Smits, Maintenance Plumber, Fanshawe College

AlertAQ has also sent alerts for water consumption at 4 AM when the buildings are empty. This type of insight would be impossible without AlertAQ's 24/7 monitoring.

Educational institutions are reducing operating costs, protecting buildings and measuring sustainability goals with Alert Labs solutions.