The Issue at Atlantis
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is an 824-room, AAA Four-Diamond resort destination in Reno, Nevada. At Atlantis, sustainability is an important initiative and water conservation is a key part of the sustainability strategy to reduce environmental impacts. Water is at a premium in Nevada because we are in the desert, said Perry Sanders, director of facilities for Monarch Casino & Resort Inc., which owns and operates the Atlantis.
Large hotels and casinos like Atlantis (Atlantis is nearly 1 million square feet) are complex facilities that require water use for many different functions from irrigation, cooling, and plumbing to restaurants, spas, and pools. By simply monitoring monthly water use data from invoices, facilities are not able to easily identify areas for increased efficiency or take action in time to address water waste events. Atlantis was looking for a solution that would help them increase water efficiency, reduce water waste events, prevent future water leaks and save money.
Atlantis looked to WINT Water Intelligence as the solution to address their issue, thanks to an introduction from WaterStart. WINT is a water-management technology company founded in Tel Aviv in 2012. After WaterStart introduced WINT and Atlantis, the three organizations walked the facility together and it was agreed that there were likely some big opportunities for water reductions, risk mitigation, and cost savings.
According to WINT CEO, Guy Vachtel, WINT is solving problems categorized in three buckets. The first problem being addressed is preventing water leak damage, which can be a costly problem for facilities that rely on heavy water use and are unable to quickly identify and address water leaks. The ability to prevent these damages is critical as they can contribute to business disruptions and an increase in insurance premiums. The second issue is water sustainability. Companies are looking at reducing consumption and saving water as part of their larger corporate sustainability strategy. ‘We are seeing customers coming to us that are looking to reduce 20-25% water use in a short period of time and WINT is able to help consumers accomplish this with our solution, said Vachtel. The third issue being addressed is the ability to monitor and analyze water consumption across facilities. Monitoring and analyzing helps to identify waste and analyze usage patterns through data-driven analytics. WINT is helping consumers get control of their water usage and even providing the ability to remotely shut off valves in some locations.
In the weeks after installation of the WINT technology, the meters track water flows and establish usage patterns for various functions across a building. After the baselines are established, the system will analyze facility water usage in real-time. When WINT detects a break in the water patterns that signify a leak or water waste event, alerts will be automatically sent to the building maintenance staff’s smartphones with the location of the problem. The facility staff can then investigate those areas to identify the problem. The system also can be programmed to automatically shut off water supplies. For instance, if a Jacuzzi or pool isn’t filling properly because the system determines there’s a leak, it will automatically turn off the water.
There are other solutions on the market that might be less costly because they’re just measuring the water flow, but the WINT technology has capabilities that go beyond this. As a smart system that uses data analytics, this system has the ability to create a detailed profile of the consumer’s water usage and provide close to zero false-positive alerts when detecting water waste events. “This is kind of the beauty behind the technology of what we are doing,” said Guy of WINT. “With the analytics, we are able to look at the pipe and tell you the water is coming from someone flushing the toilet, someone is washing their hands right now and the cooling tower is also running.” The technology will create the signature of each water use within the building which can be identified and monitored even if it’s happening in parallel to other consumption.
Results of the Pilot
24 WINT units were installed in various locations of the Atlantis facility to provide monitoring of different areas and water-using functions throughout the hotel. WINT conducted a walk-through of the facility with Atlantis to understand potential problem areas for water use, understand their concerns, and were throughout the hotel they would like to monitor. Atlantis decided they would like to monitor the cooling towers, the spa, the cafeteria, ten restaurants, and various hot and cold water uses.
The pilot went well, according to Dave Hiday, corporate director of energy and sustainability at Atlantis. We found areas where we could save significant amounts of water. Atlantis learned during the pilot that they had abnormal consumption of water in multiple areas.
After one year of installing the WINT technology, the facility achieved a 15% in water reduction. These reductions were realized from a mix of identifying water leaks and implementing new practices and behaviors to reduce water. Most of the savings came from addressing the various water leaks that were identified. There were a number of cases where the WINT technology identified a pipe break, which was unknown to the operations team because the pipes were hidden.
Shortly after the system was installed the operations team received an alert that there was a pipe burst near the spa. The maintenance staff inspected the area but found nothing. The Atlantis team contacted WINT thinking it was a false alert. The WINT staff explained that the data was suggesting a leak and that the damaged pipe appeared to be located behind a wall. The maintenance staff went back to the spa, broke through the wall, and noticed a large leak that was leading to gushing water. Because the pipe was located near a drain, it was invisible to anyone on the other side of the wall. Without the use of the WINT technology, leaks like this would have gone unnoticed for quite some time leading to wasted water and wasted money. The Atlantis team says there were several other instances like this that they have addressed since installing the technology.
They also quickly identified a number of restaurants and cafes that had significantly different water usage patterns and levels. After investigating, the management team instructed the employees on the ground to change some practices and behaviors based on what they were seeing in some of the higher water-using restaurants and cafes. For example, a dipper well is used in one of the cafes to clean the ice cream scoopers. They quickly noticed that these dipper wells were being left to slowly run all day, even when they weren’t being. The employees were instructed to only run the dipper when it was needed, leading to large water savings. Hiday says, ‘Nobody even considers how much a dipper well uses. That’s just water running down a drain, basically filling up a cup that you put an ice cream scoop in. There were large savings there.’
According to Hiday, We identified these patterns of behavior and were able to put a price on it. The management team was then motivated to instruct the employees to change their practices around the dipper wells and other areas to reduce a good amount of water.
In addition to the alerts, WINT sends Atlantis monthly reports on water usage showing consumption patterns over time, by location, and how much the company is paying for that water each hour. This data can then be used to adjust the facility’s operations. For instance, according to Perry Sanders at Atlantis, ‘The report picked up how much it costs to supply certain operations with water during the day and allowed it to make adjustments, such as doing more laundry at night, when costs are lower.
Monthly water consumption at Atlantis was approximately 6.5 million gallons per month before the pilot. The operations team at Atlantis had a goal of reducing overall water use by 10% through the implementation of the WINT technology. After running the pilot for 12 months, the facility realized approximately 15% reduction in water use across the facility. Atlantis spent $48,000 for the system, which some matching funds from WaterStart, and realized savings of approximately $36,000 in the first year.
Atlantis is now upgrading their meters and putting a permanent power source on them. Atlantis is also installing more meters tied to the Wint technology in an attempt to monitor and reduce water use within their irrigation system and their fountains. It is very typical in drip irrigation systems to have emitters pop off and water leaks go unnoticed, so the company is hoping to find abnormal landscaping watering issues.
‘Where we can be sustainable, we really try’, said Hiday. ‘We’ve done some initiatives with our HVAC systems, with our electrical systems, and with our water systems. We have fountains out in the front of the building that uses a good amount of water and that’s one of the systems we’re going to put the meters and the Wint technology on to look into any abnormal water flow issues to the fountains and understand the associated usage.’
The owner of Atlantis Casino, Monarch Inc., is currently working on the completion of another large hotel in Black Hawk, Colorado and they have recently signed an agreement to have the WINT system installed in this facility as well.
WINT is a passionate clean-tech company with an intelligent IoT real-time water monitoring and conservation solution. The technology empowers multifamily and commercial portfolios to optimize water efficiency, cut costs, and protect water damage, through advanced machine learning and AI. WINT monitors water usage 24x7x365 and detects abnormal water usage patterns, such as leaks and excessive consumption, and alerts the end-user with the details of the problem through a state-of-the-art cloud-based dashboard and alerting systems.