Case Study – Stillorgan Village

Subject Area: Water

Sector: Retail


Stillorgan Village is a shopping centre located in the Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown Council area of South County Dublin. The Centre has over fifty retail outlets including a supermarket, restaurants, food hall, fashion retailers and services providers and trades seven days a week.

The Centre decided to adopt the €coMerit Environmental Programme in early 2011 as a means of improving  its environmental performance and reducing operating costs. An Improvement Plan was developed for a range of energy, water and waste reduction actions.

Centre Manager Ray Coary explains how water management emerged as the biggest area for improvement, and achieving cost savings.


The Shopping Centre has a bulk water meter for the water supply to the whole site and sub-meters in the individual retail outlets. With the help of our €coMerit advisor we analysed our water bills and identified a significant amount of unexplained water use by subtracting the aggregated sub meter readings from the bulk meter readings.

We engaged the services of The GMC Group who began monitoring water use by taking overnight meter readings when the Centre was closed. This enabled the logging of the main bulk meter readings and provided flow analysis reports. These readings showed  significant water flow outside normal trading hours and confirmed our suspicions that we had one or more water leaks.

Armed with this information GMC were able to identify and locate several sizeable general supply water leaks at various locations around the site and two further leaks within the premises of retail outlets. These were repaired and a number of fittings were replaced as a preventative maintenance exercise.

We also reviewed all sub-meters in the Centre to ensure that every sub-meter was identified correctly and accounted for in terms of its location in specific units. We were advised and assisted by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Water Metering Department which was a great help to us. This enabled us to correct historical billing errors resulting from sub-meters being logged against the wrong premises and sub-meters readings being billed for but not being deducted from the main bulk meter readings.

We then looked more closely at  the Management Company’s water usage, notably in the public areas. We adjusted the cisterns of all toilets to optimise their performance and we checked equipment and fittings in public and staff toilet areas.

The Results

Before we began, the Centre was using 70 cubic metres of water per day of which 53 cubic metres per day was un-accounted usage. The leak repairs, upgrades to the water infrastructure and water saving measures have combined to reduce our usage to 42 cubic meters per day – an impressive 40% reduction.

  • 40% reduction in water use.
  • €24,000 annual saving in water charges.
  • 7 month payback time

The total cost of these improvement works, including surveys, was €15,000. The net saving to the Management Company and tenants was €24,000 in year one which is equivalent to a 7-month pay-back time. We are now using 10,200 cubic metres less water each year. We also monitor our water usage closely so that any future leaks, which may occur, will be quickly identified and repaired. The next phase of this exercise will be to log the bulk meter readings again for flow analysis and to carry out further internal & external investigations. This may involve exposing underground water pipes and doing a more detailed survey of equipment in individual retail outlets. We will also consider installing a number of sluice valve controls to section off the mains water supply, which will help to highlight where the leaks are and  enable us to isolate water flow if serious mains water leaks occur in the future.

“We are delighted to have identified and corrected hidden problems which were happening under our feet every day. Only when you measure your performance can you really start to get control.”

Ray Coary, Centre Manager, Stillorgan Village.