Managing shared utilities in multi-use property common areas?
Updated on February 11th, 2021
A Shared Utilities Metering System allows you to fairly allocate consumption.
Multi-use properties can consist of multi-residential, office, retail, recreational, hospitality and institutional buildings and spaces. The buildings often share utilities such as electricity, water, gas and central heating and cooling systems. Shared utility services can occur between the buildings, tenant spaces, and/or in common areas used by all stakeholders, such as parkades, lobbies, and central plants.
Main benefits of Shared Utility Metering system:
• Proper utility allocations lessen risk for building owner/manager
• Get correct utility measurements – even with different meter systems
• Use existing equipment where possible
• An automated system so data can be collected, analyzed and billed remotely on a web-based software.
The allocations and reimbursement of these costs has historically been done using square footage calculations or other fixed methods. These methods are often inaccurate, outdated and unfair for several parties. With the increasing costs of utilities, it has become essential for new and existing properties to properly isolate and allocate shared utility use. Doing so also ensures the property developers and managers avoid any immediate or future legal action related to unfair utility billing.
Advanced metering equipment and energy reporting software are cost effective tools for isolating and allocating shared utility use. QMC has designed and deployed numerous shared utility metering systems (SUMS) across Canada over the past ten years.
The solution & Result:
The key to a successful SUMS deployment is the initial site audit, conducted by QMC, the property management team and the property’s preferred contractors and/or engineers. The electricity, water, gas, and central plant distribution is mapped to ensure the correct meter locations are identified and the correct meter sizes specified. Existing utility meters are identified and integrated into the new system. New metering is added where needed and all meters are commissioned to ensure manufacturer acceptance and regulatory compliance (Measurement Canada). Lastly, all meters are automated so data can be collected, analyzed and billed remotely on a web-based software.
By deploying a Shared Utility Metering System with QMC, multi-use properties are able to fairly allocate energy use amongst stakeholders and avoid costly disputes and legal actions.