Understanding Submetering: Student Housing’s Guide to Fair Utility Distribution

Lauren Bevilacqua | May 3, 2024

Understanding Submetering: Student Housing’s Guide to Fair Utility Distribution

Campus is alive with the end-of-year buzz. Students are cramming for finals, and student housing teams are gearing up for the Turn season hustle. As move-outs mark the start of summer, just a blink later, move-ins will be upon us. Here come the bright-eyed optimists, straddling the line between adolescence and adulthood, settling into on-campus dorm rooms and apartments. They’re about to learn to master the art of laundry sorting and navigate the unofficial curriculum of utility bills—a true crash course in Adulting 101.

The 2024-2025 academic year is setting up to be a landmark in student housing, as incoming students are securing their spots at an unprecedented rate. According to Multi-Housing News, preleasing for on-campus housing has skyrocketed by an impressive 23% compared to the figures from 2022. With more brains to enlighten and dorm rooms to power, the task of managing an escalating volume of utility bills is intensifying. But fear not, there’s a solution to tackle this utility management pop quiz: managed-utilities submetering.

What is Submetering?

Submetering is a precise method of tracking utility usage by installing individual meters in each student unit. This technology enables property managers to bill residents based on actual consumption, eliminating the guesswork and unfair cost splits of traditional utility billing systems. As an innovative leap forward from the common Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS), submetering aligns directly with the needs of modern student housing management.

The Benefits of Submetering

Adopting submetering will transform the operational dynamics of your properties:

  • Fair Billing: Students only pay for the utilities they consume, ensuring fairness and accountability.
  • Conservation Encouragement: Direct billing motivates students to reduce their utility usage, supporting broader environmental goals.
  • Early Issue Detection: Submetering helps identify high usage or leaks early, preventing waste and saving costs.
  • Billing Transparency: Clear, precise billing builds trust between property managers and students and aids in financial planning.
  • Attractiveness to Residents: Properties with submetering draw environmentally conscious students who value sustainable living.
  • Increased Operational Efficiency: Direct utility cost allocation reduces overall operational expenses, enhancing property profitability.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Submetering aids in adhering to energy efficiency regulations and offers a competitive advantage.

Why the Slow Adoption in Student Housing?

Despite its advantages, the integration of submetering in student housing has been gradual. Initial investments, complexity in billing systems, and the challenge of retrofitting existing buildings are significant hurdles. However, the strategic implementation of submetering technology not only modernizes properties but also significantly enhances their operational efficiency and market value.

Conservice at the Helm: Navigating the Complexities of Utility Management in Student Housing

Conservice brings a nuanced understanding and expert management to submetering and student housing utility management. We’re trusted by 80% of the top 25 student housing owners and operators across the United States. Our focus is on optimizing recovery processes and managing utilities so you can concentrate on leasing and enhancing the resident experience.

How We Streamline Your Submetering & Utility Management

  • Installation and Management: We oversee the installation and management of your submeters.
  • Data Data Data: Our systems accurately measure utility use, ensuring precise billing.
  • Efficient Operations: We manage every detail of utility billing, from setup to final processing, smoothly coordinating move-ins and move-outs.
  • Bill Processing: We handle all aspects of bill collection and processing, ensuring accuracy and timeliness.
  • Direct Billing & Customer Support: Students are billed directly through our user-friendly portal, simplifying the payment process. Dedicated Support: Our dedicated support team is your right hand for managing the living experience for students.

Your Role? Sit back and relax. On average, properties managed by Conservice see a 10-15% annual reduction in utility costs.

Submetering transcends traditional metering technologies by serving as a strategic asset that markedly improves operational efficiency, sustainability, and the financial performance of student housing properties. With growing recognition of its advantages, the adoption of submetering is expected to expand, further transforming the landscape of utility management in the industry.

To learn how Conservice can help you streamline your utility management and maximize your investment in student housing, contact your Utility Expert, Jennifer Love.

Want more Student Housing resources? Check out our free eBook, “Beyond Power: Expanding Your Student Housing Utility Program Footprint.”

Lauren Bevilacqua

Lauren Bevilacqua

Lauren is the Content Marketing Manager at Conservice. She is an avid reader, fitness enthusiast, Dolly Parton fan, and will never turn down chips and salsa.

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