Benchmarking your average water bills to other communities in your zip code area is an excellent way to determine your competitiveness. Resident retention can be directly tied to many metrics at a community and the price of water per month is definitely at the top of the list in many markets.
Quantifying a retrofit program on a property that residents pay the majority of the water bill can be a challenge. Especially if the residents are paying 80% of the water bill on a property with Resident Utility Billing program. On a study of the NWP benchmark report, we found one of our properties with central boiler system and on RUBs; water billing had per unit water bills 37% above our immediate competitive properties in the market.
If owner paid, entire bill for water the ROI on the toilet and showerhead retrofit was under a year. Once resident paid portion of water was applied, ROI dropped to 5.3 years. Even with this lower return to the owner do not forget to value the reduction of residents water bill which was estimated at a 17% reduction and dropping it to the average of the metered properties.
Do not beholden to ROI; there can be many other factors that will go to the bottom line; residents dire for greener communities, resident retention and lower cost associated with turnover.