Water and Energy Efficiency Services

Utility Allowance Modeling


The Plummer team includes a group of highly skilled project managers, engineers, and water and energy efficiency modelers. The significant expertise, experience and knowledge base of the team acquired by successfully conducting utility allowance modeling for a large number of properties across the United States will help them quickly determine the best and most cost-effective platform and methods required to achieve the best and most reliable results. A proven and collaborative process involving the modeling team and the developer will result in identification of the most important elements that will lead to decision making that will ultimately provide the greatest and most cost-effective results for both the tenants and the owner.

Multifamily affordable housing developments generally rely on utility allowance schedules set by the local housing authority.  These allowances are used to determine the “Total Tenant Payment” or gross rent, which is the sum of the monthly rent and the monthly utility allowances.  Because the total tenant payment is regulated at the state level, the higher the utility allowance, the lower the rent that can be charged per unit type.

Developers and managers of these properties have the option of providing actual consumption data or conducting energy consumption modeling in lieu of adopting the local utility allowances.   In the cases where the actual consumption or the modeled consumption is lower than the published utility allowance, the developer or management company has the ability to increase the amount it charges for rent without exceeding the designated total tenant payment.  This increases profit and also allows the owner to recover money invested in water and energy efficiency upgrades. The cost of conducting a water or energy consumption model can generally be recovered in less than three months.

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ICI Water Efficiency Surveys

Water Conservation remains an essential element of Dallas’ long-range water supply strategy. The scope of the DWU ICI Program is twofold. The first is to help businesses save water and money by identifying opportunities to increase water use efficiency and to reduce water, wastewater, and associated energy costs. This is accomplished through a free water efficiency assessment by an independent consultant. The water efficiency assessment includes a review of historical water consumption, development of a complete water balance, process mapping, inspection and evaluation of all water using equipment, specific recommendations for efficiency improvements and a thorough cost/benefit analysis. The second is to provide rebates for qualifying water efficiency projects. Rebates for the lesser of 50% of the installed project cost or s maximum of $100,000 per project are available to DWU General Class customers on a first come, first served basis. The purpose of the program is to promote continued investments in water efficiency by reducing the overall project payback period by as much as 50%. The Plummer Water and Energy Efficiency Services (WEES) team has managed the DWU ICI Water Conservation Program since 2012. To date, Plummer has conducted water efficiency assessments of more than 300 buildings and identified potential savings in excess of 150 million gallons per year.

ICI NAICS Classification

As defined by the United States Census Bureau, “The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS was developed under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.  

Plummer began utilizing the NAICS coding system to assign the same NAICS industry codes for water consumption customers of our clients in early 2017. Industry and Business classification for water utilities can be an extremely powerful tool when used correctlyThey can also be used to classify multifamily residential use. Unfortunately, most water utilities only have data on billing classifications for accounts, and those classifications are determined by internal definitions rather than external standardized guidelines.  Once empowered with NAICS codes, utility organizations can begin to analyze sector-specific water consumption thereby creating the ability to develop more industry and business targeted water conservation programs.  

 What does NAICS coding look like when applied to water utility customer accounts? Here is an example:

Water Conservation & Drought Contingency Planning

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has developed guidelines and requirements governing the development of water conservation and drought contingency plans for public water suppliers. The objectives of the water conservation plan are to: 

  • Reduce water consumption 
  • Report (or document) the level of water recycling and reuse in the water supply  
  • Reduce the loss and waste of water 
  • Improve efficiency in the use of water 
  • Extend the life of current water supplies by reducing the rate of growth in per capita demand. 

The objectives of the drought contingency plan are to:

  • Conserve the available water supply in times of drought and emergency;
  • Maintain supplies for domestic water use, sanitation, and fire protection;
  • Protect and preserve public health, welfare, and safety;
  • Minimize the adverse impacts of water supply shortages and emergency water supply conditions.

The Plummer team has several services to assist our clients in achieving these objectives such as utilizing the NAICS classification system, performing ICI Water Efficiency Surveys, and developing and managing water conservation programs. 

NTMWD Workshop Webinars


Module 1 – Conducting a Water Efficiency Survey

Module 2 – Process Mapping & Water Balance

Module 3 – Identifying Drivers of Change

Module 4 – Identifying Efficiency Opportunities & Lost Revenue

Conservation Program Development and Management