The Simple Gadget That Could Slash Apartment Buildings' Water Use

More

While Sarah Rich and I were driving through the south's startup landscape, we heard about plenty of new companies that we didn't get a chance to meet. Perhaps the most intriguing was Atlanta's Soneter, a member of Georgia Tech's Venture Lab. Here's the pitch. StartupNationbug.png

24 million apartments don't have an individual water meter. Instead, the water bill is tallied by the entire building. That means that it is difficult to encourage efficiency through a price signal because people aren't paying for the water they actually use. In the past, if you wanted to install individual meters for every unit, you'd have to cut into the water pipes and stick those meters inside. That's expensive and time-consuming. The Soneter meter, by contrast, clamps on *outside* the pipe, meaning it's easier and cheaper to install.

The way they like to put it, Soneter is "extending the smart grid to water networks." The hardware works with in concert with management software that can provide real-time feedback to residents about how much water they're using.

This is a cool, sensor-based business that seems to have a clear, addressable market.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

How Will Climate Change Affect Cities?

Urban planners and environmentalists predict the future of city life.

Video

The Inner Life of a Drag Queen

A short documentary about cross-dressing, masculinity, identity, and performance

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In