Property Management Company Saves $100,000 With Water Flow Sensor

January 18, 2019
Joanna Jackson, Building Performance Specialist, Minto Apartments beside Flowie water flow sensor installed on a compound water meter

“AlertAQ provides excellent data about our buildings’ water use. Being able to see real-time data is key to determining water consumption issues within our multi-residential buildings. Monitoring property performance within a single dashboard reduces the amount of time and focus needed to compare different properties.”

<div class="text-center body2">- Joanna Jackson, Building Performance Specialist, Minto Apartments</div>

How Minto Apartments saved more than $100,000 on water costs

We sat down with Joanna to talk about how the AlertAQ water intelligence platform has saved Minto Apartments more than $100,000 on water costs. Watch the video.


Joanna Jackson is a Building Performance Specialist with Minto Apartments, an organization that manages 8,800 rental apartment units in seven cities across Canada. After relying on municipal water bills to manage water consumption and costs, Joanna installed Alert Labs Solutions at 12 buildings and began receiving minute-by-minute water use data. A few months after installation, AlertAQ detected water leaks at two apartment buildings. The leaks were promptly repaired and the company saved approximately $100,000 on water costs.

Joanna Jackson of the Minto Group stands in front of a multi-residential building
Joanna stands in front of a multi-residential building managed by Minto Apartments

Municipal water bills not granular enough

Before Joanna discovered AlertAQ, she was relying on municipal water bills to gain insight into water use. While the water bills recorded overall usage, there was no information about the exact time of day when water was being used. The bills arrived four to six weeks after the water is used which makes it impossible to catch leaks early.

“With the city water bills, we would only know how much water an entire building used in a month or best case, on a daily basis.”

Installing a detailed Building Automation System (BAS) to manage water use was cost prohibitive so, Joanna found a low cost solution: AlertAQ.

Alert Labs solutions easy to install

“I was able to install Alert Labs solutions quite quickly and have instructed other property managers on how to install them at their buildings.”

Compound water meter with Joanna installing Flowie water flow sensor

$100,000 saved after water leaks detected and repaired at multi-residential properties

Alert Labs solutions were installed at 12 multi-residential buildings and right away Joanna was alerted to continual water usage throughout the entire day.

“Even during the nighttime periods the buildings were using 30 to 50 liters per minute.”

Due to the high volume of water usage, Joanna’s team reasoned that the most likely cause was leaking fixtures. A toilet renewal program was launched for two of the multi-residential buildings with high water usage. As a result, overnight consumption dropped to low levels - sometimes zero liters per minute. Minto Apartments estimates it has generated $100,000 in annual savings.

“The payback periods have been one year or less.”

Water usage timeline shows significant water cost savings
Alert Labs water usage timeline shows water consumption starts to decrease in early October after the toilet renewal project. Water use data provided by Flowie allowed Minto Apartments to diagnose water consumption problems. See Table 1 for more information.

Table 1 savings on water costs

Usage in Liters
October 1, 2018 (pre-toilet renewal project) 329,455.37

December 1, 2018 (post-toilet renewal project)





Difference (cubic meters)


Water rate ($/cubic meters)


Savings (per day)


Savings (per month)


Savings (per year)


Water bills show savings

Water Bills The Minto Group Show 10 000 dollars in savings
Minto Apartments water bills for July and November 2018 show about $10,000 dollars in savings

Payback in two months

In addition to the initiative to update the toilets at the multi-residential buildings, Joanna used Flowie to detect an inefficient irrigation system.

Joanna found the water leak in the irrigation system by looking at the minute-by-minute water use data that Flowie generates. Whenever the irrigation system turned on, there was a, “significant spike in water consumption” compared to previous times the irrigation system was turned on.

Joanna hired a contractor to find the exact location of the leak within the irrigation system and she began to see savings almost immediately.

“We estimate the payback for fixing the irrigation leak to be about two months."

Dashboard helps manage water use across different cities

Minto Apartments installed Flowie in cities across Canada. Joanna benefits from being able to streamline water costs despite different municipal billing cycles or billing periods.

“I use the Alert Labs dashboard to look at our buildings in Ottawa, Toronto, Oakville, London and Edmonton, comparing the water consumption between the different municipalities to get a better understanding of water costs. I can drill down and figure out exactly what the water issues are in the buildings, seeing all of the properties I manage to prioritize then repair the most costly buildings to significantly reduce our total water costs.”

Property Management Company The Minto Group Map of Properties
The Alert Labs Dashboard shows a map overview of some of the buildings managed by Minto Apartments

Learn more about the functionality of smart building sensors for multi-family apartments & condos.