LOUISVILLE, KY — January 24, 2024 – ION today announced that it has appointed Masha Wolfendale as vice president of sales, and Brad Labozzetta and Nickolas Washburn as sales account executives.

“Affordable housing developers are realizing significant water and cost savings using our water optimization platform, and the industry is taking notice,” said Jack Howell, ION Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to expand our team allowing us to better serve developers as we continue to grow our business.”

Wolfendale has more than 10 years’ experience in real estate and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industries, serving multiple types of clients and properties. She recently served as Account Executive with The Investor Machine, where she helped real estate investors grow their businesses. She also served as vice president acquisitions at Guide Property Services.

Prior to ION, Labozzetta was managing partner for SL Capital Investment GP, where he developed and oversaw an investment portfolio of single family and multi-family assets. He held other land and real estate development positions. Washburn was previously an account executive with MRI Software where he facilitated business for multi-family risk solutions. He also served in sales positions with Paycom and Cushman & Wakefield.

“ION’s platform is changing how the affordable housing industry manages water,” Wolfendale said. “I look forward to developing new relationships with customers and helping them to realize the full potential of our platform.”

ION’s water optimization platform improves water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. ION can help reduce water consumption and monthly water bills by more than 50% compared to industry averages.

For more information about ION, visit www.ionwater.io.

About ION

ION enables affordable owners and developers to conserve water and reduce expenses by providing actionable water data. Its water optimization platform helps clients reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70% compared to industry averages. Developers can reinvest savings into properties to improve residents’ quality of life, and lower and more reliable utility costs can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI). For more information, visit www.ionwater.io.

Affordable housing is a crucial aspect of urban development, ensuring that individuals and families from diverse economic backgrounds have access to safe, comfortable, and reasonably priced housing. However, according to a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), no state has adequate affordable housing. In fact, there is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for people with extremely low incomes in the U.S.1

As sustainable development has gained prominence, affordable housing developers are turning to innovative strategies to reduce their environmental footprint and save money that can be reinvested into their portfolios. While energy efficiency strategies have taken hold, water conservation remains elusive for developers. As there is no defined standard for water efficiency in affordable housing, many developers believe that consuming 100 gallons per bedroom per day or more is acceptable. It is not.

The perceived lack of actionable water data in affordable housing is the primary culprit for this misconception. The affordable housing industry wastes over 200B gallons of water and $3B annually. With actionable water data, consumption and costs could be reduced by as much as 70%, leading to dramatic increases in net operating income (NOI) and opportunities to reinvest into affordable housing portfolios. Fortunately, accessing actionable water data is a reality and many of America’s largest affordable housing developers are using water data to optimize the value of their portfolios while reducing their environmental footprints.

The Evolution of Water Data

As the world faces increasing challenges related to water scarcity and climate change, efficient water consumption has become paramount. The UN predicts a 40% shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030 while global demand for water is projected to increase by up to 25% by 2050.2 The need for sustainable water consumption is especially crucial in affordable housing, where the availability of resources directly impacts the quality of life for residents.

Over the years, the evolution of water data in affordable housing has undergone a transformative journey, moving from basic measurement efforts to the integration of advanced platforms that generate actionable water data. The industry is at an inflection point with more actionable water data available than ever before, yet many developers are still relying on legacy, outdated systems. These systems have evolved:

  1. Municipal meters (least actionable) – A municipal water meter measures the volume of water that is consumed by a property connected to a public water supply system. These meters are typically installed by municipal or local water authorities to accurately measure the amount of water consumed so customers can be billed accurately. Because municipal meters are installed for measurement and billing purposes, they do not offer actionable data for water conservation. Developers can only identify over consumption after receiving a large water bill.
  2. Submetering systems (less actionable) – A sub water metering system measures water consumption of individual units within a larger property. This allows for precise billing of each unit or sub-section of a property. Sub metering can encourage more efficient water consumption because affordable developers can identify units that are over consuming based on water bills. While this data is more actionable than a municipal meter, it is still received after a developer has already received a bill for a water event.
  3. Off-the-shelf-metering solutions (somewhat actionable) – An off-the-shelf water metering system is a ready-to-use system that provides the components for implementing water metering AND monitoring. In addition to water meters, off-the-shelf water metering solutions typically include some form of data collection and transmission equipment. This might involve wireless communication systems, data loggers, or IoT devices that transmit water usage data to a central monitoring system. This can help developers identify leaks and over consumption more quickly, but it won’t tell a developer exactly where a leak occurred and assign someone to fix it.
  4. Water optimization platform (most actionable) – Actionable water data allows affordable developers to drive informed actions and decisions. Most affordable multi-unit properties average over 100 gallons of water consumption per bedroom per day, which is the industry’s current underwriting assumption for water and sewer proformas. This is double what it should be. Affordable developers using a water optimization platform are consuming less than 50 gallons per bedroom per day. A water optimization platform provides real-time, actionable water performance data via smart sensors. It identifies and analyzes unit-level water events, pinpoints malfunctions and generates automated work orders so maintenance personnel can stop water loss before it impacts a property’s bottom line.

Increasing NOI with Actionable Water Data

Water costs are surging across the country due to drought conditions and deteriorating infrastructure plaguing our nation. In fact, water rates have increased about 50% over the last decade according to Bluefield Research.3
Access to actionable water performance data helps property developers reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70%. The reduction in NOI, increasing property value and unlocking greater debt capacity for property improvements and other investments. Reducing water consumption also supports developers’ sustainability initiatives and provides a hedge against future rate hikes.

The Impact of Water Data on Sustainability

Global water resources are under pressure, and it’s getting worse due to the growing climate crisis. In fact, the UN predicts a 40% shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030.4 According to the EPA’s recent Smart Growth and Affordable Housing report, water-efficient development will become more important as climate change is projected to increase drought.5

In addition to reducing utility costs for affordable property developers, water conservation limits demand on water infrastructure. This is vitally important as freshwater resources are dwindling while population and demand for affordable housing is growing. Water efficient property development isn’t a nice to have, it’s essential. Fortunately, actionable water data can lead to improvements that reduce water consumption by as much as 70% and generate significant CO2e savings.

Water Data Enhances ESG Reporting

Water data can also be a valuable metric for affordable developers’ ESG programs. The Harvard Law School on Corporate Governance has water among its top 15 considerations that will influence ESG strategy in 2023. It says: “Water metrics will quickly become an incredibly close second to emissions-related disclosures.” They point to droughts and a lack of water stewardship efforts as primary causes and the critical importance of water on society.

Reliable water data can be used to demonstrate enhanced water efficiencies within your ESG program. These efficiencies translate to carbon offsets related to the reduced treatment and delivery of water. Additionally, millions in savings can be reinvested into social equity initiatives that enhance residents’ quality of life.

Affordable Developers Leading the Way, and Having an Impact

  • Dominium Improves Property Value by $3M Using ION’s Water Optimization Platform
  • ION helped Dominium’s Crossings at Cape Coral property reduce water expenses by $16,000 per month. ION reduced water consumption from 110 gallons per bedroom per day to less than 38 gallons.
  • 10M Gallons Conserved
  • $192,000 Annual Savings
  • $3M Property Value increase
  • Kittle Increases Property Sales Price by $2.8M Using ION’s Water Optimization Platform
  • Kittle Property Group deployed ION’s water optimization platform at Bradford Gwinnett Apartments and Townhomes and was able to capture two months of stabilized water consumption data prior to selling the property. The brokers underwrote the platform which provided the data necessary to project a significant reduction in water consumption and costs. The expected reduced annual sewer and water costs increased NOI projections dramatically, resulting in a $2.8M increase in property value and sales price.
  • 50 Gallons – Reduced consumption from 100+ gallons per bedroom per day to less than 50
  • $2.8M increase in sales price

About ION’s Water Optimization Platform

We envision a more sustainable affordable housing market, where both affordable developers and communities can thrive through improved water efficiency. Our water optimization platform changes the game for affordable developers allowing them to harness real-time water data to reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70 percent compared to industry averages.

Our water optimization platform generates data that is 20,000 times more granular than a typical billing meter. This enables us to identify leaks efficiently and accurately and generate automated work orders that allow maintenance teams to act swiftly. Because of this efficiency, ION’s customers are maintaining water consumption below 45 gallons per bedroom per day.

ION is committed to “Building a Water Positive World.” A world where businesses, policy makers and communities work together to preserve and replenish our most precious resource, water. The first step towards being water positive is eliminating waste, and our platform helps affordable developers reduce water waste by as much as 70%.

Conclusion

Affordable housing developers play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable, cost-effective communities. By leveraging actionable water data to optimize water consumption, developers can make informed decisions that not only enhance their NOI but also contribute positively to environmental conservation efforts. As the world grapples with water scarcity and rising utility costs, the adoption of data-driven strategies becomes an imperative step toward creating thriving, efficient, and eco-friendly affordable housing communities.

Download the White Paper

1. https://nlihc.org/gap
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiehailstone/2023/08/21/why-more-and-more-companies-are-setting-water-sustainability-goals/?sh=59db41e461c8
3. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/14/your-money/water-bills-tips.html
4. https://gritdaily.com/companies-becoming-more-water-positive/
5. https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/smart-growth-and-affordable-housing
6. https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2022/12/31/the-top-15-anticipated-esg-related-considerations-that-will-influence-strategy-in-2023/

LOUISVILLE, KY — Oct. 17, 2023 — ION today announced that Pennrose is using its water optimization platform to reduce water consumption, improve its sustainability efforts and cut costs across its affordable housing portfolio.  

“This partnership aligns with our commitment to providing high-quality, sustainable, and affordable housing to residents across the U.S.,” said Mark H. Dambly, CEO, Pennrose. “ION’s water optimization platform will help us to reduce water consumption and cut costs, allowing us to reinvest savings into our communities. This will enable us to further deliver on our commitments to residents while adding value to our portfolio.” 

The affordable housing industry wastes over 200 billion gallons of water annually, depriving the market of over $3B in annual operating income. This waste also generates 500,000 tons of excess carbon emissions every year. 

ION’s water optimization platform will help Pennrose improve water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. ION can help reduce water consumption and monthly water bills by as much as 70%.  

“We’re thrilled to help Pennrose conserve water and experience significant financial savings that can be reallocated for property improvements,” said Jack Howell, President and Senior Managing Partner, ION. “Together, we will make a meaningful difference in water conservation while reducing costs.”  

For more information about ION, visit www.ionwater.io. For more information about Pennrose, visit www.pennrose.com.   

About ION  

ION enables affordable owners and developers to conserve water and reduce expenses by providing actionable water data. Its water optimization platform helps clients reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70% compared to industry averages. Developers can reinvest savings into properties to improve residents’ quality of life, and lower and more reliable utility costs can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI). For more information, visit www.ionwater.io. 

About Pennrose 

With over 50 years of experience, Pennrose combines quality development and proven management to deliver exceptional lifestyle-centered communities for its residents. With the superior knowledge and unparalleled dedication to get the job done right, Pennrose develops and operates conventional, affordable, mixed-income, and mixed-use communities throughout the United States. For more information visit www.pennrose.com 

Originally Written By Mark Fogarty – As seen in Tax Credit Advisor

Sustainability has become a key concept for affordable housing, charging to the forefront of the industry in recent years, and it’s not just because climate change is mandating the most efficient energy usage at projects. Sustainability can also be a significant cost containment center for developers, which can help make the debt and financing numbers pencil out.

Take Osprey Place Apartments, an affordable development in North Charleston, SC. Standard Communities purchased the approximately 20-year-old development a couple of years ago (SVN Affordable I Levental Realty brokered the deal). When Standard planned out a $22 million renovation, it included installing a water metering system by Louisville, KY-based ION Water.

How much do the water meters, a “smart” system that immediately detects water over­ consumption and alerts management so they can address the problems immediately, save Standard?

Mike Johnson, Standard’s director for asset quality and sustainability, did a couple of quick calculations at the request of Tax Credit Advisor and determined the ION Water system is saving $63,000 a year in costs at Osprey Place, which has 108 units and 288 bedrooms. Use of the system in multiple properties, which Standard plans, could make a dent in debt and finance costs.

Prior to ION Water, which was installed in March, water consumption at the property was 82 gallons per bedroom per day, says Johnson. Since then, it has decreased to 35 gallons per bedroom per day, or less than half. This is saving the property more than $150 per day in water utility expenses.

Renters at Osprey Place are not being charged anything for water, so the savings go to management and can be reallocated for property improvements.

Leaking toilets, left-on faucets and actual flooding are detected immediately by the sensors in place in the water meters, says Johnson. The quick fixes that result conserve water and the extra costs of repairs incurred by letting problems continue unabated for lengthy periods of time.

Johnson notes a Low Income Housing Tax Credit execution enabled the Standard Communities renovation, including the ION Water system, “which allows us to save a lot of water at the property.”

Sustainability, Johnson says, “has three legs to it, environmental, social and economic. ION’s water flow meters make contributions to all three.”

Internet Notification

On the environmental side, “it allows us the ability to conserve water by not being entirely reliant on the residents to notify our management of that issue. We get notified by internet devices and can respond to conserve water.

“It also contributes to the social aspect of sustainability should there be a leaky water heater in a unit or even something more substantial,” he says. An early response by crews can stave off potentially hazardous mold or microbial growth in the unit, and even the unit below if water were to seep through the floor.

Each project is unique in its sustainability opportunities and challenges, Johnson says.

“Our focus is on pushing the envelope when it comes to sustainability.”

On the economic side, “if water is going straight down the drain, that costs money.”

Asked if he would use ION Water again, the answer was an enthusiastic yes. In fact, Standard plans for 15 more properties to get the water meters right now, Johnson says.

On the finance side, Regions Bank has taken the lead position, achieving a trifecta of tax credit equity with syndicator (Regions Affordable Housing), equity investor (Regions Bank) and main lender (Berkadia Capital is the servicer). About $12.2 million in tax credit equity was realized, and the loan came to $10 million.

Renovation costs came to an average of $82,000 per unit. All units are affordable at 60 percent or less of area median income.

Osprey Place is not Standard’s first development in the Charleston area. There are four, all tax credit rehabs. Johnson says no residents have been displaced during the renovations.

600 Units in Charleston

Standard’s Charleston portfolio exceeds 600 units of housing.

In addition to Osprey Place Apartments, Standard-led public-private partnerships acquired Bridgeview Village Apartments, the largest privately-owned affordable community in Charleston with 300 units; Canebreak Apartments in Summerville, SC, with 120 units; and Shannon Park Apartments in Goose Creek, SC, with 96 units.

Originally built in 2004, Osprey Place Apartments is located at 2390 Baker Hospital Boulevard, North, and comprises five garden-style apartment buildings on a 19.3-acre site. Amenities include a community center, playground, laundry room and off-street parking for residents, according to the developer.

“With this addition to Standard’s portfolio in the Lowcountry, we are trying to do our part to alleviate the area’s high housing costs and low supply of affordable and workforce housing,” says Tommy Attridge, Standard’s senior director of Southeast Production, based in Charleston.

Based in New York and Los Angeles, Standard says it has a national portfolio of over 19,000 apartment units, including approximately 11,500 affordable and workforce housing units, and has completed more than $4 billion of affordable housing acquisitions and rehabilitations nationwide.

How Water Meters Save

The ION Water platform identifies and analyzes unit-level water events, pinpoints malfunction and generates automated work orders so maintenance personnel can stop water loss before it impacts a property’s bottom line (for more information on ION Water see Tax Credit Advisor May 2023).

The company identifies several steps it uses in its process to help developers achieve water optimization.

PLANNING

ION Water conducts a utility survey and develops a financial and water conservation impact assessment. It then implements a site survey and establishes the engagement plan.

INSTALLATION

ION Water installs sensors in every unit of the property to capture unit-level water data.

REPORTING

Sensors transmit water consumption data in real time to ION Water’s platform.

ANALYSIS

The platform analyzes water performance data and pinpoints malfunctions. It then sends automated work orders to maintenance personnel.

MAINTENANCE

Maintenance personnel address leaks and other potential issues quickly, minimizing impact on the property and the environment.

MANAGEMENT

ION Water monitors unit-level water consumption 24/7 to optimize property water efficiency. Reports can easily be created to demonstrate financial impact and for ESG reporting.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — July 12, 2023 – ION today announced that Standard Communities is using its water optimization platform to start to reduce water consumption and costs across its affordable housing portfolio. Standard Communities has reduced water consumption by 50% on its first property deployment and plans to roll ION out across multiple properties in 2023.

“We are committed to providing high-quality, affordable, sustainable housing to those that need it most and are constantly working to improve our environmental impact at our communities around the country,” said Scott Alter, Co-Founder and Principal at Standard Communities. “Our goal is to achieve a 20% reduction in water use intensity across our entire portfolio by 2030, and ION is playing a vital role in helping us reach this objective.”

ION’s water optimization platform improves water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. ION can help reduce water consumption and monthly water bills by as much as 70%.

“The affordable housing industry wastes over 200 billion gallons of water annually,” said Jack Howell, President and Senior Managing Partner, ION. “We’re thrilled to help Standard Communities conserve this precious resource and experience significant financial savings that can be reallocated for property improvements.”

For more information about ION, visit www.ionwater.io. For more information about Standard Communities, visit www.standard-communities.com.

About ION

ION enables affordable owners and developers to conserve water and reduce expenses by providing actionable water data. Its water optimization platform helps clients reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70% compared to industry averages. Developers can reinvest savings into properties to improve residents’ quality of life, and lower and more reliable utility costs can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI). For more information, visit www.ionwater.io.

About Standard Communities

Headquartered in New York and Los Angeles, Standard Communities has a national portfolio of nearly 19,000 apartment units and has completed more than $4 billion of affordable and workforce housing development, acquisitions and rehabilitation nationwide. As a Certified B Corporation, Standard Communities strives to cultivate long-term public/private partnerships to produce and preserve high-quality, affordable and environmentally sustainable housing.

Media Contact:
Matt Serra
Ph: 7730817-3106
mserra@mulberrymc.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — June 19, 2023 — ION today announced that it is launching a new brand identity. The company has changed its name from ION Energy Solutions to ION and developed a new logo and tagline. ION’s new tagline, “Building a Water Positive World,” reflects its mission of preserving affordable housing through water conservation while helping to eliminate as much water waste from the world as possible.

“Water is one of our most precious resources yet most affordable properties waste millions of gallons a year through leaks,” said Jack Howell, ION Founder and CEO. “We help our customers optimize water consumption to cut costs dramatically and add value to their portfolios. Our new brand more clearly conveys this value to our customers and prospects and speaks to our long-term aspirations.”

ION’s new logo is a chevron made from clean blue dots with a single red dot at the point. The clean blue dots represent units within an affordable housing property consuming water. The red dot depicts a leak pinpointed by ION’s platform. The Chevron is pointing to the future, representing ION’s pursuit of building a water positive world.

ION has launched a new website with detailed case studies and a return on investment (ROI) calculator. The calculator allows affordable developers to see how ION’s platform can impact their portfolios. The calculator demonstrates financial benefits, including cost savings and valuation impact, and sustainability benefits.

“From net operating income to ESG reporting, our website makes it easier for people to see how our platform can impact their portfolios,” Howell said. “We are helping our clients consume less than 45 gallons of water per bedroom per day. The industry averages 100. Website visitors can now easily see how a dramatic reduction in water consumption can impact the value of their properties in different ways.”
ION’s water optimization platform improves water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions, and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. ION can help reduce water consumption and monthly water bills by as much as 70%.

For more information about ION, visit www.ionwater.io.

About ION

ION enables affordable owners and developers to conserve water and reduce expenses by providing actionable water data. Its water optimization platform helps clients reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70% compared to industry averages. Developers can reinvest savings into properties to improve residents’ quality of life, and lower and more reliable utility costs can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI). For more information, visit www.ionwater.io.

Media Contact:
Matt Serra
Mulberry Marketing Communications
773-817-3106
mserra@mulberrymc.com

LOUISVILLE, KY — May 4, 2023 — ION today announced that it has appointed Giles Hohn as vice president of operations. Hohn will lead ION’s operations team and will be responsible for the successful deployment of ION’s water optimization platform across its affordable housing customer base.

“From assessment through implementation, we are dedicated to providing the best customer experience possible,” said Jack Howell, ION Founder and CEO. “Giles brings 15 years of operations experience to ION, and we are confident he will enhance our ability to optimize water consumption for affordable owners and developers across the U.S.”

Hohn previously served as senior service director for GE Renewable Energy where he managed all aspects of a $100 million business with over 140 employees and 2,800 wind turbines. While with GE Renewable Energy, he also served as North American operations leader and western region operations leader and site manager.

Prior to GE Renewable Energy, Hohn was plant manager for one of the largest medical gas plants in North America. He was also a captain in the Army where he served as operations manager for two 80-person special forces companies.

“ION’s platform is a game changer for the affordable housing industry,” Hohn said. “I look forward to working closely with customers and helping them to realize the full value of our platform.”

ION’s water optimization platform improves water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. ION can help reduce water consumption and monthly water bills by as much as 70%.

For more information about ION, visit www.ionwater.io.

About ION

ION enables affordable owners and developers to conserve water and reduce expenses by providing actionable water data. Its water optimization platform helps clients reduce water consumption and costs by as much as 70% compared to industry averages. Developers can reinvest savings into properties to improve residents’ quality of life, and lower and more reliable utility costs can dramatically improve net operating income (NOI). For more information, visit www.ionwater.io.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sept. 20, 2022 — ION launched its 30 by 30 initiative, a nationwide campaign that aims to reduce water consumption by more than 30% in the Affordable Housing market by 2030. Affordable Housing owners and developers can help accomplish this goal by using ION’s water optimization platform that enables properties to use 50% less water than the typical affordable housing property.

“The 30 by 30 initiative addresses two major crises affecting millions across the U.S. – water scarcity and shortage of affordable housing,” said Jack Howell, ION Founder and CEO. “Our platform provides transparent, actionable water consumption data to owners, developers, policymakers, investors and utilities that can be used to optimize water consumption and dramatically reduce costs.”

ION’s water optimization platform improves water efficiencies by identifying and analyzing unit-level water events, pinpointing malfunctions and generating automated work orders to stop water loss before it impacts a property’s operating income. The platform can reduce monthly water bills by as much as 70%.

“Improving water efficiency starts with more effective data. Our technology won’t just tell you when your property has a leak but will also show you what is leaking and where it started,” said Howell. “Our platform has been installed in 80,000 units across the nation, generating 20,000 times more granular data for property owners and developers than any other metering system. The Affordable Housing marketplace could reduce total water consumption by more than 50%, and maintain that efficiency, if every property uses this technology.”

As part of the 30 by 30 campaign, ION is asking property owners, developers and others to join in its mission to reduce water consumption in the affordable housing market by signing onto its 30 by 30 Pledge. ION will also develop and share educational market resources that help affordable housing communities make impactful changes in water consumption for the betterment of their communities.

“We need everyone on board for this vision to come to fruition. The first step is to take the 30 by 30 Pledge and be an advocate for change, not just for the affordable housing industry but for all the communities across the country feeling the detriments of drought and water scarcity,” said Howell. “Reducing water consumption in affordable housing shouldn’t just be an ION goal, but a collective goal. Together, we can make a difference for those who need it most.”

For more information, visit ionwater.io.

Make the 30 x 30 pledge. Join ION’s efforts to reduce water consumption in affordable housing by 30% by 2030. Optimize water, save money, and preserve housing with ION.