March 22, 2018

Sustainability Stories We Couldn’t Ignore

At Sloan, we take a big-picture view of water sustainability and sustainability in general, helping our customers build more eco-friendly schools, offices, hospitals and more:

We’re also keenly interested in what other companies and organizations are doing to promote sustainability. Here’s a roundup of some stories we couldn’t ignore from the first three months of 2018:

Ocean waves power desalination.

Wave energy technology converts the mechanical energy of ocean waves into electricity. Various types of wave energy converters have been introduced over the last decade or so, but none have caught on as an economical way to harness this endlessly renewable resource.

New Mexico-based Atmocean recently introduced a new system that, instead of generating electrical energy, uses wave energy to pump seawater ashore for desalination by reverse osmosis.

The biggest drawback to desalination is typically its vast energy requirements. If this new system can alleviate that concern, coastal communities worldwide could tap new, limitless supplies of fresh water—powered by nothing more than the waves of the ocean.

Paying for eco-friendly practices gets results.

A new UCLA-led study reports that programs which pay for practices supporting natural ecosystems are expanding around the world, promoting benefits such as flood protection, biodiversity and carbon storage.

One example: A state in Malaysia worked with private parties to restore and maintain 131 square miles of rainforest, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of orangutans.

This idea shouldn’t be considered radical—we’ve seen that water conservation can contribute to significant long-term savings in the U.S. Paying to preserve ecosystems isn’t a cost. It’s a smart investment.

Cape Town braces for “Day Zero.”

This is a story we wish weren’t true. Cape Town, a South African city of about 4 million people, could run out of water as soon as this summer.

Climate change, several years of drought and poor management have left the city’s rain-fed reservoirs at a fraction of capacity. Restrictions limit residents to 50 liters of water per day. (The average American uses more than 300 liters daily.) When the reservoirs run dry, that challenging quota will be cut in half.

Cape Town may be the world’s most water-stressed city, but it isn’t alone. On a recent Nature Conservancy survey, Los Angeles ranked ninth.

New brewery sets a sustainable standard.

On a happier note ... a massive new Heineken brewery in northern Mexico has been designed to take sustainability as far as possible.

Beer is 95% water, and the plant will need only 2 liters of water to brew each liter of beer—as opposed to 3.8 liters at conventional plants. A treatment plant will purify the water used in production and reuse 30% of it in other processes, and rainwater harvested onsite will be fed into canals that lead to nearby farms.

But here’s our favorite detail: Paper labels washed off beer bottles get recycled into toilet paper.

Did you see an important story we missed? Please let us know, with a comment below!

From the 1906 invention of the Royal® Flushometer to today’s automatic fixtures, Sloan’s innovations have saved building owners billions of gallons of water. Want to know more? Talk to Sloan!

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