Healthy Buildings, Happy Clients

March 5, 2015
POE water treatment systems offered as building amenities

About the author: Christopher J. Serrie is CEO and managing partner for Building Water Solutions Inc. Serrie can be reached at [email protected] or 416.928.3773.

undefinedThe reality of North America’s aging water infrastructure is that the end product can be less than desirable in spite of best efforts. Decades-old drinking water and wastewater pipe is prone to leaks, which could in turn lead to broken water mains surrounded by raw sewage, potentially contaminating drinking water. This water then is sent to homes and businesses for consumption, food preparation and bathing. Contaminated water could contain coliform bacteria, E. coli or other contaminants, or waterborne pathogens, and end up stored in hot water tanks or as biofilm in pipe, resulting in less-than-ideal operating conditions for hospitals, retirement homes, schools, homes and other buildings.

Hard water scale is another major issue to tackle, as its effects on building operating costs can be significant. Substantial savings to building owners and operators are made available in energy conservation, pipe maintenance and general mechanical repair as a result of implementing the right point-of-entry (POE) water treatment strategy.

Whole-Building Solution

Building Water Solutions Inc. (BWS) designed its Aqua Pure Elite POE water security system for buildings to address these concerns. The system incorporates ultrafiltration, granular activated carbon, remote control and remote monitoring computer capabilities, and an electronic descaler to address a multitude of issues, including hard water scale buildup, scale removal and biofilm prevention.

When combined correctly and sized properly, the system can provide 99.999% microbiologically pure water to every tap in a building. It offers substantial flow and allows all minerals to remain in the water while removing all suspended solids and pathogens, including Crypotosporidium, Giardia, E. coli, cysts, protozoan bacteria and more. With the addition of a few other small integral and strategic pieces of equipment, the system not only exceeds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule requirements for water quality and security, it also exceeds the soon-to-be-implemented ASHRAE 188 standard for Legionella defense.

Energy & Maintenance Savings

Scale buildup on pipe results in significant increases in energy use and cost. Scale buildup in boilers results in shortened lifespan of equipment, inefficient operating parameters, increased energy costs, increased maintenance costs and increased capital expenditure on a proforma. The chlorine and other chemicals found in municipal systems can cause erosion of seals, leading to increased maintenance and repair costs.

Descaling systems can help prevent, reduce or significantly delay these repair costs. A pump seal can cost $5 to thousands of dollars. The labor to repair or replace it can cost thousands, in addition to downtime and wear and tear. By enhancing and balancing the water quality in a building, every piece of equipment and pipe operates more efficiently and smoothly. Pipe pitting is delayed, lifespan is extended and operating thresholds can be more easily maintained.

BWS’s descaler has reported energy reductions ranging from 6% to 19% per year, resulting in short payback and attractive returns on investment for the system and the operating budgets of the buildings.

Good Water Quality, Good Business

Building owners and managers, as well as tenants and buyers, can benefit financially from the installation of a POE system. Whether in an office building or condominium/apartment building, tenants can save significant amounts of money every month on their gross occupancy charges. In addition to enjoying a more energy-efficient building and reduced costs, they no longer have to buy bottled water, fridge filters, tap filters or water coolers. All building users can enjoy enhanced water quality and convenience in addition to being a part of an environmentally friendly building with a reduced greenhouse gas footprint.

Condominium and home developers are now using POE systems as building amenities to attract environmentally aware, health-conscious people to their sales offices. Any amenity that can enrich people’s lives, save them money while increasing the security of their families, and protect their investments in their homes or businesses will be in great demand.

Case Study: Condominium Building

A large, well-established North American developer was launching a 400-unit twin condominium tower. It chose BWS’s water security system as a sales marketing tool to help sell out its buildings’ two phases. The developer was looking for something to differentiate the company and its products as quality built, innovative, customer-centered projects serving all client needs. 

The company’s strategy to use water quality as a marketing attraction worked. The buildings sold out in record time without having to discount suites or provide other incentives. All of the company’s buildings now include a BWS water security system.

Case Study: Four-Star Restaurant

Recommend by both engineers and its architect, an award-winning restaurant knew it did not want the quality of its food influenced by chlorine and aging infrastructure. It also knew that by addressing water quality, it could extend both the efficiency and lifespan of its water-using equipment. 

The city’s water test showed more than 47 reports of coliform bacteria and multiple incursions of E. coli that stayed in the water for up to a week at a time. The city had not ordered a water advisory.

The restaurant chose to focus on water quality by creating a program around it. It stopped selling bottled water and instead began selling filtered table water by the carafe. The entire water system paid for itself in one year, and the restaurant has received numerous compliments on the taste of its water. 

The restaurant also saved money because it did not need additional space or coolers, as it no longer serves bottled water. Water tests now show no contamination or scale buildup, and the restaurant is protected 24/7 against future contamination.

Seeking Sustainability Points

Water security systems have a variety of other abilities and benefits. BWS’s system can be extended to include building effluent recycling to cooling towers or rainwater recapture for consumption, cooling towers, rooftop irrigation or to top up swimming pools. The company has certifications to tap into open-loop geothermal systems and provide free water, off the grid, for entire buildings. 

Storm water pond use and management are now sources of water for use, not just expensive planning tools to get building permits. The number of points received for green building certifications is only limited by your imagination.

A water security system that was needed to initially solve a pressing infrastructure problem has evolved to be a building amenity.

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