July 2008
  
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Water Submetering: Wireless Systems
By providing managers with real-time, automatically generated data, wireless water submetering can make monitoring, billing, and reducing water usage far easier than with traditional, manual-read submetering systems.

  Christina Inge

Christina Inge
Marketing Manager
Spinwave Systems, Inc.

Monitoring water consumption has become a concern for more and more facilities managers and building owners. Submetering to measure and often bill individual tenants, dorms, or departments is normally the best way to get a handle on water use. While simply installing submeters is effective alone, using wireless automated meter reading technology can quickly optimize any submetering system, making current, exact usage data available to management and occupants alike. This, in turn, can reduce water consumption by:

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By providing managers with real-time, automatically generated data, wireless water submetering can make monitoring, billing, and reducing water usage far easier than with traditional, manual-read submetering systems.

Getting the Infrastructure Right: The Foundation of an Effective Wireless Submetering System

The first step in getting a submetering program underway is to install the individual unit meters themselves. For a system that provides real-time data, water meters with a pulse output are needed. To then enable these meters to communicate wirelessly, pulse counters are installed on each meter. Each pulse counter can be set to send a signal to a central web-enabled gateway after a specified number of gallons have gone through the meter. The real-time data is automatically transmitted to the gateway at set intervals using Modbus, LON, or BACnet communication, or as basic digital outputs; that gateway can be wired into an existing controller and integrated with your existing BAS that uses standard industry protocols. If there is no automation system already in place, the submetering system can be coordinated using a JACE™ appliance, which can also host sophisticated Java-based billing software to make billing a large number of tenants easier. How each system needs to be configured depends on local water regulations, the physical layout of your facility, and the goals of your metering system (billing all tenants, or just monitoring usage at a few locations). For a basic wireless system, all that is generally needed are the meters, pulse counters, repeaters, and a gateway.

In addition to integrating your submetering system with your existing BAS, there’s one other major infrastructure consideration: the location of the meters. Many water meters are located outdoors, where no power source is available. To meet this need, Spinwave Systems manufactures wireless pulse counters that are battery-operated, so they can work in a location that has no electrical wiring.

Wireless Submetering: Real-Time Data Optimizes Monitoring

Wirelessly enabling smart meters to transmit consumption data automatically will add an additional layer of control and effectiveness to any submetering system. For one thing, human error in reading meters is eliminated-staff won’t forget to read a meter, or record data incorrectly. The labor involved in collecting data is also eliminated, so facilities staff are free to focus on maintenance, rather than meter reading.

Just as important for many owners is the immediacy and accuracy provided by a networked submetering system. Data from the pulse counters provides a real-time picture of usage throughout a building or apartment complex, so you can know how much water is being consumed not only in a given month, but in a given hour. This data can stem waste in several ways:

Wireless submetering’s highly efficient data collection and distribution automatically addresses consumption on several levels, from management to end-users.

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Seven Steps to Getting Started with Water Submetering

Those wishing to get started with wireless water submetering might wonder if a system is workable with their limited time and budgets. Taking these five steps can make your installation go forward more efficiently:

Control Solutions, Inc About Spinwave Systems’ Wireless Submetering Solutions

Spinwave Systems’ pulse counters, gateways, repeaters, and Modbus radio have been designed to be easy to implement for submetering systems of all kinds, from single apartment buildings to multiple retail locations.

The wireless submetering product line consists of:

For more information, visit http://www.spinwavesystems.com, or contact Spinwave Systems directly at 978-392-9000, ext. 225 or info@spinwavesystems.com

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