The key to saving energy and water? Automating legionella compliance

Pippa Boothman, VP Marketing & Communications at Disruptive Technologies

Legionella compliance is a manual maintenance task required to ensure the safety of the water we consume and use. And now, advanced sensor technology that can help avoid the presence of potentially fatal Legionella bacteria in water systems is more accessible than ever. This focuses maintenance resources on areas of concern rather than doing countless regular checks, and it assures that the water is safe, all while saving time, money, and energy.

What is legionella compliance?

Legionella, a lethal pathogen that grows in stagnant water at certain temperatures, is a highly examined and controlled bacterium. Stringent standards exist at the national, federal, and state levels throughout Europe and North America to guarantee that building operators and managers maintain safe water for their occupants. In the United Kingdom, these are referred to as the L8 rules, along with a slew of additional laws. In the United States, this is referred to as a Water Management Plan.

How is legionella compliance wasteful?

Facilities managers have a variety of tasks, the most time-consuming of which is completing daily, weekly, or monthly ‘water flushing’ and temperature checks for legionella compliance. ​​These inspections entail a facilities manager having to go around every tap, shower, or other water outlet in a building and run it for about 5 minutes, physically documenting the flush and temperature, and then creating a report. However, these inspections are often redundant, as most taps are usually used, and thus do not need flushing. This results in a waste of water, energy, and time. Thankfully, advancements in sensor technology have led to the automation of water and energy management for legionella compliance.

How does automating legionella compliance work?

Facilities managers can now fully automate the temperature reporting necessary for which pipes should be flushed using a tiny temperature sensor stuck to a pipe and an AI platform. Reports on what occurred to the taps are exportable whenever a user wishes, and alarms may be configured to notify you if a tap has been stagnant or tepid for an extended period of time and requires intervention. Dashboards provide real-time information on how many taps in the portfolio are in need for flushing and when corrective action has been implemented.

What are the results?

At a time when there is a strong emphasis on climate action, any source of decreased CO2 emissions, water usage, and energy savings must be welcomed and ramped up. With the sensor system in place, an engineer no longer has to go to the site every month to physically flush every tap and monitor the temperature, and can instead focus on additional value-added duties. Staff simply need to run the few taps that aren’t flushed during routine usage on a regular basis. Together with our partners, we have seen remarkable results. In one project, JLL is annually saving 2900 kg of carbon across their building, 600 liters of water per tap, and 81% of the time previously spent on manual compliance tasks. Likewise, a leading financial institution is seeing a 98% reduction in all legionella compliance-related carbon emissions, as well as saving 150,000 liters of water and 379 hours per year. In addition to helping the environment, the solution guarantees that Legionella-related health and safety standards are met. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Pippa Boothman, VP Marketing & Communications at Disruptive Technologies, a Norwegian developer of the world’s smallest wireless sensors and an award-winning innovator in the IoT market. Their small, efficient, powerful, and adaptable wireless sensors are making buildings intelligent and sustainable, in minutes.