Blog: March, 2012

March 29, 2012
Water Energy water efficiency, water energy Amul Sathe
Today’s technology innovators view wastewater as a valuable resource.

In 2010, I wrote about Imagine H2O (an incubator hosting prize competitions for water innovations) as they launched their second annual prize competition focused on the water-energy nexus. Recently, I attended Imagine H2O’s 3rd Annual Water Entrepreneurs Showcase at which the organization announced the winners of their 2011 prize competition for innovations in the wastewater industry.

This year’s competition attracted 50 startups, from which nine finalists were selected.  The competition was split into two categories, a pre-revenue track and an early revenue track.  Bilexys won the Pre-Revenue Track for its technology that converts wastewater into chemicals which can then be reused in the treatment process.  New Sky Energy won the Early Revenue Track for its technology that combines CO2 and industrial wastewater to extract usable chemicals from the wastewater stream. Additionally, Nexus eWater and Tusaar, Inc. were named runners up in the Pre-Revenue Track— Nexus eWater for its technology that converts residential gray water into near-potable water and recycles its energy for hot water heating, and Tusaar for development of a low-cost technology to remove heavy-metal contaminants from wastewater effluent.

Imagine H2O’s event heralds a turning point in the wastewater industry.  In the past, wastewater treatment was a service and technology field that was often an afterthought.  I found it especially refreshing that three of the four winners and runners up viewed wastewater treatment as an opportunity, not a necessary burden.  By viewing wastewater effluent as a resource (from which chemicals can be manufactured, heat can be recovered, and useable water be produced), the winning teams are both creating economic value and increasing sustainability in the water sector.  These innovations can save embedded energy by reducing energy use associated with water supply and chemical production.  Meanwhile, the remaining finalists in the competition focused on reducing the cost and energy requirements of treating wastewater and producing recycled water, both noble causes.

During the acceptance speeches, one winning team explained they are driven by the idea that “water is one of the few un-substitutable resources on this planet”.  As water-stressed regions (including California) continue to see decreases in supply and increases in costs, it will become apparent that wastewater effluent is no longer a waste but instead a resource and path to sustainability.

Imagine H2O places winners in an accelerator program which provides accounting and financial services; introductions to beta customers, financiers, and market partners; assistance in securing lab and/or office space; and publicity.  If Imagine H2O’s efforts are successful, we may never look at a wastewater treatment plant the same again.

March 13, 2012
Alliance News green building California Sustainability Alliance

The Alliance has released the Green Tenant Guide to assist organizations through the process of greening their operations and staff behavior.The Guide incorporates content based on best practice research and is built on the belief that a sustainability program should be treated like any other venture an organization undertakes; it should make business sense, be measurable, and fit within the organization’s overall mission.  This guide recognizes that every organization’s situation is different and it will help organizations discover what makes the most sense for their situation and their audience in order to do the following:

  • Set clear and feasible sustainability goals
  • Establish buy-in and excitement
  • Define metrics
  • Communicate results

The Green Tenant Guide includes a step-by-step approach, specific strategies for greening a workplace, a sustainability program process checklist and a smart goal setting worksheet.To view or download the Green Tenant Guide click here

March 5, 2012
Alliance News sustainability showcase California Sustainability Alliance

The Alliance is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Sustainability Showcase Awards!  Each year, the Showcase Awards recognize businesses and organizations in California who are leading the way towards a less energy intensive, low carbon future and provides a platform for the honorees to share their success stories and best practices.

This year’s award recipients (and award categories) are: Kilroy Realty Corporation (Commercial Buildings), First Community Housing (Multifamily Housing), the City of Riverside (Local Government), and Burbank Water and Power (Water Agency).  Cathedral City received an honorable mention in the local government category.

Each of the above organizations is dedicated to advancing sustainability goals internally and in the broader community.  In addition to achieving emissions reductions and water and energy savings, a number of these organizations have also realized significant economic savings. 

In the coming months, we will be posting online showcases featuring each of these organizations.  But in the meantime, we’d like to share with you a few of the best practices that make this year’s Showcase Award winners such leaders in their fields:

Winners:

  • Kilroy Realty Corporation - Commercial Buildings
  • First Community Housing - Multifamily Housing
  • City of Riverside - Local Government
  • Burbank Water and Power - Water Agencies

Honorable Mention:

  • Cathedral City - Local Government