Rahway Housing Authority Meter Project


Leaks can account for, an average 11,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, which is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.  In fact, the amount of water leaked from homes in the United States could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year, which is equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.   Throughout the nation, multi-family buildings are concerned with water waste.  As a result, the City of Rahway’s Environmental Commission helped identify a demonstration project that would help address this issue.

During 2006, the Rahway Housing Authority (RHA) retrofitted its building systems to reduce utility consumption and costs.  RHA utilized energy performance contracting to finance boilers, hot water systems, controls, lighting, insulation, and water efficient fixtures.  Prior to the retrofit seventy-six apartment units throughout eleven buildings were serviced by one meter. 

When a leak occurs or a tenant does not report a running toilet and the monthly bill “spikes,” it is difficult and time consuming to isolate the problem.  New Jersey Water Savers, along with the RHA agreed to cost-share the installation of flow water meters (sub-meters) in each of the eleven buildings to reduce the time needed to find a potential problem by 90 percent and to minimize water waste and costs.

Energy Performance Contracting

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is an innovative financing technique that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption to repay the cost of installing energy conservation measures. Normally offered by Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), this innovative financing technique allows building users to achieve energy savings without upfront capital expenses. The costs of the energy improvements are borne by the performance contractor and paid back out of the energy savings. Other advantages include the ability to use a single contractor to do the necessary energy audits and retrofits and to guarantee the energy savings from a selected series of conservation measures.

Energy performance contracting is available through efficient replacement technologies and through routine end of life replacements. 

Eligible programs include:

  • Lighting

  • Heating controls

  • Hot water systems

  • Appliances

  • Water efficiency measures

Measurement and Verification

Measurement and verification (M&V) is a process of determining and reporting utility consumption and cost savings using engineering calculations, metering, utility bill analysis, and computer simulation.

Maintenance Considerations

Managing maintenance is a major role for any Housing Agency.   A well-managed maintenance operation will provide for:

Planned Maintenance Program

  • Timely response by maintenance staff to emergencies

  • Work order system organized by type of work

  • Minimal backlog of maintenance work orders

  • Maintenance staff appropriately utilized, trained, and supervised

  • System for repairing and returning vacant units to occupancy within an acceptable time frame

Routine Maintenance Program

  • Regular servicing of mechanical systems

  • Supervision of maintenance work carried out by private contractors

  • Unit inspections carried out annually for occupied units as well as upon move-in and move-out

  • Grounds maintenance

Monitoring Results

RHA was responsible for providing reports that documented the leaks detected and an estimate of water savings achieved due to quicker identification of the problem areas.

Education Opportunities for Residents

This research has the potential to provide the New Jersey Water Savers with the ability to assess the methods for encouraging adoption of indoor water saving practices including educational programs that focus on behavioral changes of renters. 





The Partners