Waste Not, Want Not | Defense Communities Magazine

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Monterey Bay Military Housing minimizes water usage and cuts utility costs for La Mesa Village Community residents

More than 37 million people are affected by the ongoing drought in California, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and with more than 98 percent of the state enduring moderate or worse drought conditions, local property managers are taking innovative measures to help residential communities reduce water consumption and increase awareness of sustainable practices statewide.

In October 2014, property management company Monterey Bay Military Housing partnered with Sustain-Ability Solutions, a company specializing in maximizing water con­servation efforts, to upgrade La Mesa Village Community (a 708-unit neigh­borhood) with new, high-efficiency kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures from Niagara Conservation with no upfront costs. The partnership project resulted in drastically reduced utility bills and maintenance issues for the residents of La Mesa Village.

“We are dedicated to offering multi-unit operators with seamless water con­servation solutions,” said Ed Fowlkes, operations manager for Sustain­ Ability Solutions. “By teaming up with Monterey Bay Military Housing, we are making major strides in emphasiz­ing sustainable practices within the home and encouraging proper care of a scare resource not only in California but also nationwide.”

Impressive Installations

The retrofit for La Mesa Village Community began in October 2014 and, in fewer than 30 days,  UHET Water- Saving Kits from Niagara Conservation were installed in all 708 units. Backed by a 10-year warranty, the three-part kit includes the 0.8 gallons-per-flush (GPF) Stealth toilet, Earth Massage 1.5 gallon-per­ minute (GPM) shower head, and a 1.0-GPM aerator for both the kitchen and bathroom faucets. Ultra-high­-efficiency 0.8 GPF Stealth toilets were installed to replace the older, 1.6-GPF toilets previously found on the property. With every flush, the EPA WaterSense-certified Stealth toilet forces air down a transfer tube and into the trap way, allowing for a quiet yet powerful suction that ensures all waste is cleared out and flows fully into the sewer system. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District helped fund the retrofit by providing property managers rebates for every toilet installation.

Additionally, the outdated and less­ efficient shower heads were replaced with high-efficiency Earth Massage 1.5-GPM shower heads, which are advertised to use up to 40 percent less water than other “low-flow ” shower heads. Since faucets can account for nearly 16 percent of an average household’s daily water consumption, the 1.0- GPM kitchen and bath aerators completed the water saving package, replacing standard 2.2-GPM kitchen and bath aerators.

Significant Water, Monetary Savings

According to Adrian Jimenez, operations manager for Monterey Bay Military Housing, as a result of the retrofits, the residents of La Mesa Village Community saved 1.1 million gallons of water in January 2015 when compared to January 2014 and 1.14 million gallons in February 2015, compared to 2014. “The installation of Niagara Conservation’s high-efficiency plumbing fixtures have been nothing but well received by our residents in the La Mesa Village Community,” said Jimenez.

“Each retrofit was completed with the utmost professionalism and ease thanks to the team at Sustain­ Ability Solutions, and since the project’s completion last November, we have not only seen remarkable reductions in water usage within each unit of the community but also we have received zero complaints from our residents.”

Sustain-Ability Solutions partners with public- and private-sector man­agers from residential communities to hotels to help design and implement efforts to control rising utility costs. By working with Sustain-Ability Solutions, Monterey Bay Military Housing is pushing the envelope for multi-unit property managers and owners to implement new technology that can save the planet as well as save residents money on their water and utility bills.

Together, these two orga­nizations are leading water conserva­tion efforts by addressing the benefits of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and helping to alleviate the scarcity of water in the state of California . Alone, this 708-unit residential community saved more than one million gallons of water in one month – just imagine if more and more residential communities adopted a similar vision and partnership.