Of Utility

A variety of products help owners manage water and energy costs.

With droughts parching the west and energy rates climbing across the country, it is important for multifamily owners and operators to take measures to conserve both water and electricity. MHN has compiled a list of products that are helping to reduce usage on both fronts.

RainXchange specializes in storm water and rain harvesting equipment but without the bulk and unsightliness of traditional water storage tanks. The company’s AQUABLOX D-Raintank product allows for subterranean water storage that is harvested from storm water runoff from rain gutters that can then be used for irrigation or other water features.  Each light-weight block measures 26.5x16x17.5-inches, with a capacity of 32 gallons, and has a structural design that can withstand a load-bearing weight of 38 psi after installation. The components can be easily assembled to create reservoirs of all shapes and volumes and can be connected to a variety of multifamily outdoor space elements such as fountains, waterfalls and irrigation systems (www.rainxchange.com).

Hunter Industries is already a proven leader in the irrigation control industry, and its Irrigation Management & Monitoring Software (IMMS) just adds to the company’s reputation for providing solid irrigation management. The PC-based IMMS is a centralized hub for large-scale irrigation management. The software allows users to access a visual interface that allows for map-based control over watering systems. It can be paired with additional Hunter weather monitoring products and software that will provide the user with precise metrics on station soil levels, atmospheric moisture and can include advanced features such as flow monitoring for tracking water usage and date- and time-stamped alarms that alert the user of leaks, flow violations, and sensor communication issues within the irrigation system (www.hunterindustries.com).

MJSI: Replacing old toilets with newer, more water-efficient models can be a costly affair for an entire community. MJSI, a Danco-owned company that specializes in water-saving plumbing fixtures, understands the need for conservation and has created a solution that will save on the expense of replacing toilets with its line of HydroRight, dual flush converters for standard toilets. The product, which sells for roughly $25 to $40, depending on vendor, can be conveniently installed without tools and has been proven to reduce water usage by up to 30 percent. The two-button flush control, which comes in button and handle models, allows for low-volume flushes for small jobs and regular-volume flushes for larger ones (www.gomjsi.com).

RavenBrick’s RavenWindow has been building momentum and capturing the interests of builders across the country for its ability to help buildings reduce energy usage. RavenWindow utilizes a thermochromic filter that is applied to the inside surface of the exterior pane of glass on a double pane window that responds to elevated temperatures on the exterior sheet of glass. When temperatures on the exterior glass surface rise above a designated temperature point, the thermochromic filter transitions into a tinted state within minutes, similar to the way photochromic eyeglass lenses “transition” during exposure to ultraviolet light. The tinted state of the RavenWindow helps to minimize the amount of solar heat—up to 90 percent—that passes through the window, which, in turn,  can help reduce the costs associated with air conditioning a building. RavenWindows can be used in new developments or designed to custom-fit existing windows (www.ravenbrick.com).

Lutron: As more and more states and municipalities are passing building codes that require more energy-efficient building products, Lutron has proven to be ahead of the game. The company’s Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensors turn on lights upon entry to a room and then turns them off once the space is vacant. The Maestro line includes sensors that utilize passive infrared or dual-technology models that can detect ranges of motion from very fine, such as typing, to high-motion activities such as walking. Though touted as a single-room solution to energy saving, the Maestro sensor switches are a perfect fit for multifamily common areas, where residents can forget to turn off lighting (www.lutron.com).