Multi-Family Property Submetering Overview

What is Submetering?

In the multi-family industry, it is typical that a utility installs one meter to record all of the electric, water or gas for that building, this is called a master meter. In this scenario a property owner receives one utility bill for the entire property. The term “submetering” refers to the concept of installing a meter “sub” of the utility provided master meter. The submeter(s) are installed to record the utility consumption for each apartment so the residents can be billed for their individual usage. H2O Degree’s wireless utility submetering system can monitor the following utilities:

• Water
• Electric
• Gas
• Benefits of Submetering


Submetering gives property owners and managers the ability to shift the burden of utility expenses to the tenants — and off their income statement — by billing tenants for their actual utility usage. The benefits include:

• Reduce operating expenses
• Increase net operating income
• Boost property valuation
• Provide more competitive rents
• Hedge against rising utility costs
• Proper allocation of common area utility costs
• Control over vacant utility costs
• Change maintenance staff behavior regarding leak detection
• Encourage conservation and sustainability among residents


Submetering enables residents to have control over their own utility costs. It creates an incentive for residents to conserve and change behaviors to lower their expenses. Residents feel empowered to help the environment and create a sustainable green living environment.

Cloud-Based Billing Data

H2O Degree’s wireless submetering system transmits the data to H2O Degree’s cloud-based platform for reporting, billing and analysis. The system integrates easily with leading third-party billing service providers (RBC-Read, Bill, Collect) streamlining the process of billing tenants for their utility consumption. Options are available for the owners themselves to do the billing or analyze reports for conservation opportunities.

H2O Degree provides various solutions for property owners and managers to conserve water and energy. The combination of meters, control devices, software and reports can save properties in excess of 25% of their utility costs.

Water Leak Detection

It is estimated that 14% of the average American household’s water use is actually due to water leaks. According to Water Sense (EPA water program,) the average household’s leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually. Correcting water leaks can save multi-family property owners an average of 10-20% on their water & sewer bills. H2O Degree’s wireless Point-of-Use water metering system can identify leaks in toilets, showers, sinks, etc.

Where is the most prevalent leak?

Studies have shown that toilets are the number one water fixture that leaks water. Over 70% of the leaks come from toilets. Often times, since a toilet leak may not be seen, it can go undetected for weeks if not months. Causes of toilet leaks include damaged flappers, cracked fill valves and hung up chains.

H2O Degree’s Water Meters are Unique

H2O Degree water meters can be installed on individual water fixtures such as toilets, showers and sinks to monitor the water consumption. These meters are compact in size and include an integrated battery powered wireless radio for communication. An assortment of plumbing hose assemblies are offered for each type of fixture to be monitored. Most water meters in the market are not only larger in physical size, they typically only monitor consumption in gallons at a rate of one pulse output per 10 gallons. This makes it very difficult to record leaks.

H2O Degree’s meters record gallons at a very granular level, the equivalent to over 1,000 pulses per one gallon. In addition, the meter records events (every time water starts or stops running, i.e. toilet flushes or shower is used) and duration of water flow in time and temperature. These data points are used in algorithms to determine leaks and reported on a daily basis via the leak detection reports. The reports are commonly e-mailed to the property manager, maintenance staff or outside plumbing contractor alerting them of leaks so they can proactively correct the issue before it becomes a major financial strain on the property.

Thermostat Control


H2O Degree’s wireless thermostat control solution allows property owners and managers to take charge of their heating and air-conditioning systems in their buildings. Owners can control temperature set-points, establish time of day setbacks, view the temperature inside the units as well as alarm for potential maintenance issues. Owners are able to better manage their utility costs in occupied spaces as well as establish a program to control vacant unit utility costs.

Tenants have the advantage that they are provided a thermostat that can be programmed within the confines dictated by management. They have access to a web portal or mobile app to be used on their smart phones to control their thermostat. This creates a partnership among management and residents to conserve energy, savings have exceeded 20% in multiple properties.

The H2O Degree system can be utilized on the following systems:
• Electric baseboard heating
• Electric/gas heat
• Hydronic heat
• Fan coil systems
• PTAC units

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