Water and Energy Nexus

While California’s 2017 drought may be receding into memory, property owners should still prioritize water cost control in multifamily buildings. In addition to the cost of water, the energy used to heat water makes up, on average, 15 percent of a property’s utility bills. In addition, during hot summer months, water use due to landscaping, pools, and spas increase, and so do water and sewer costs. Reducing water use presents an opportunity for multifamily properties to conserve water and reduce spending on both water and energy.

The following are three ways in which your property can take control of water costs.

Upgrade Equipment

When it comes to water saving, nothing is easier and provides a quicker return on investment than installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.

  • Installing new, $5 low-flow showerheads can save up to $54 annually and pay for themselves in one month.
  • Installing new, $1 faucet aerators on older faucets can save up to $12.50 annually  on water costs and pay for themselves in one month.

Water-conservation Programs

There are many programs throughout Northern California that help reduce water costs by providing incentives for water-saving devices or drought-tolerant landscaping, training for apartment staff, and useful water conservation information articles. To view a list of such programs in PG&E territory, click here.

In addition to these programs, the Multifamily Upgrade Program (MUP) provides incentives for many types of water-saving devices and equipment. To view just a few of the water-saving measures for which MUP provides cash incentives, click here.


Often, staff set water heater, pool, and spa temperatures too high, wasting energy and creating the potential for safety hazards—namely scalding. Follow these quick tips to maximize efficiency:


In addition, make sure to have maintenance staff fix leaks around your property. Remember, due to the energy used for heating, wasting hot water translates to increased energy costs. A leak of one drip per second of heated water can cost $35 a year.

Coordinate with MUP

As mentioned, MUP coordinates with many water conservation initiatives throughout PG&E territory. We can calculate the energy use reductions based on your property’s water savings through a program retrofit and can help you find the right incentives for your property, both water and energy efficiency opportunities. Please call 866-352-7457 to get connected with these opportunities, or fill out an interest form to get started.