Introducing Buoy™ Smart Water Device
Buoy is the first complete smart home device for managing household water use. While measuring water flow at a single point near the home’s water main entrance, Buoy continuously streams the data to the cloud using the homeowner’s wi-fi network.
Through sophisticated data science, the Buoy app processes the water use data and disaggregates it into relevant categorization of home fixtures and appliances such as showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, and laundry machines. The app also identifies and measures outdoor landscape and garden watering events. Buoy is designed to identify leaks that occur throughout the household water system. In such cases, homeowners can use Buoy to remotely and/or automatically shut off water and prevent widespread, expensive damage.
The water usage data collected by Buoy is presented in real time to users through the Buoy mobile app. Homeowners use the Buoy app to access information on overall water usage, and to deep dive into attribution-level data for the fixture/appliance categories in their home. By understanding water usage by category (including indoor vs.outdoor use), patterns and trends, Buoy users become active and knowledgeable water managers, and have a system in place to identify and prevent expensive water leaks.
Buoy has undergone a rigorous one-year testing period in an independent lab. Their engineers have confirmed that Buoy can detect leaks as small as a few tablespoons per hour and provide notifications within 20 or fewer minutes. Pilot programs in multiple states have confirmed that the disaggregation accuracy for Buoy is greater than 90% by volume.
Buoy Installation Process
First, a plumbing professional installs the Buoy device in-line, next to the home’s water shut-off valve, and plugs it into a 120-volt power outlet.
Connect to Wi-Fi
Next, the Buoy app connects the Buoy device to the home’s wi-fi network.
The state of California recently experienced one of its worst droughts in 500 years. This, coupled with dwindling groundwater supplies, has led to mandatory statewide conservation measures targeting an average 20 percent reduction in urban water use.
One study has found that approximately 10 percent of indoor residential water — almost 10,000 gallons per year — is lost to in-home leaks. Another study, sponsored by California Department of Water Resources, found that 18 percent of a single-family household’s annual water consumption could be attributed to leaks. While some of this water is lost in “soft” leaks, such as dripping faucets or running toilets, much of it is lost in “hard” leaks that destroy floors and walls, leading to expensive repairs. Water damage caused by leaks have an average claim of $10,000 and are the most common homeowner insurance claim in the United States.
Ground water shortages, drought, and failing infrastructure have caused utilities to sharply increase water pricing, putting pressure on homeowners to eliminate water waste. Unfortunately, the average homeowner has limited visibility into water wasted from leaks, and the home’s water provider only notifies the customer days, or sometimes weeks, after a significant leak has begun. Lesser leaks and drips, often invisible, go unnoticed, causing damage, water waste, and loss of money.
Most existing leak detection solutions are cumbersome and expensive. Often, they involve the installation of multiple sensors, and require contracts with a separate monitoring service, similar to home security services. This can cost as much as $2,000 for installation, with added annual service, calibration and maintenance charges. Consumer adoption is low.
The Solution: Buoy Smart Water Management
Buoy is a single device that addresses two major issues
Water usage behavior
The Buoy device gives water customers a better understanding of the connection between their behavior and their water usage. This insight generates practical, evidence-based, water reduction opportunities. The Buoy app provides simple, intuitive water use visualizations and reports, and compares immediate data to average consumption.
Buoy’s other key features include the ability to view water use at any given time over the most recent eight-day period. This both provides data about regular water use, and helps homeowners monitor outdoor water use to stay compliant with local water district rules. The app reports volume, flow rate, and outdoor water use duration. Buoy will integrate with other smart home devices such as Nest and Amazon Echo, integrating Buoy into a home’s smart technology ecosystem.
Buoy helps homeowners detect and prevent household water leaks, which represent water losses that cannot be avoided by efficiency improvements or water conservation. Many leaks occur in out-of-sight places, or at times when homeowners are out of the house; they often go unnoticed for long periods of time. Buoy’s extensive data science and pattern-matching abilities detect such leaks, and the app prompts the homeowner to address the issue before it creates serious damage. If the Buoy detects a major leak, homeowners can use Buoy’s remote shut-off valve and prevent extensive damage.
How Buoy Works for Water Utilities
Buoy is a self-contained solution that resides entirely on the customer side, integrating seamlessly into their smartphone technology to pull plumbing and water use into the 21st century. The Buoy fits into a district's existing infrastructure, regardless of when it was last upgraded. For utilities using standard or AMR metering, Buoy provides a deeper level of data and engagement for both utility managers and customers. For districts that have AMI metering and/or SAAS products (such as WaterSmart or AquaHawk), Buoy provides the “last mile” of data collection and insight: disaggregated household usage data and shut-off capability.
Water districts have rapidly increasing burdens for infrastructure upgrades and water customer education. Buoy increases water customers' engagement and education without additional infrastructure, financial or personnel commitments from the district.
Buoy also reduces the burden on water utilities to help residential customers diagnose and resolve leaks, including connecting them with qualified plumbing professionals. Buoy puts the information required for complying with water conservation goals, and water efficiency guidelines, directly in the hands of the water customer.
Rebate & Pilot Programs
Buoy is selecting water agency partners for rebate and pilot programs. Set up a meeting to determine whether your agency is a good fit.