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The Global Water Crisis: Making a Positive Impact with Sustainable Water Treatment

  
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About the author: Anupam Bhargava is the CEO of Clearwater Systems - See Full Bio

 

 

 

The need for solutions to our growing global water crisis is real, although so many of us (individuals and businesses alike) take water for granted, rarely giving a second thought to how much we use.  A report issued by the United Nations in 2006 concludes that the global water crisis is largely the result of governance issues while others, particularly leading economists, cite a mix of government regulations, lack of property rights, and subsidizing in the water sector, resulting in low prices and high consumption.

It is a complex problem with many contributing factors, but one thing is painfully clear; while demands for water increase, current supply and infrastructure are woefully inadequate to meet these ever increasing demands.  The unfortunate truth is that approximately one billion people do not have reliable access to water that is safe to consume.  Without effective, wide-spread solutions, the crisis will only get worse.  
                                           

                                      
 
Businesses finding new ways to reduce water use: see how a landmark hotel in San Francisco is achieving dramatic water efficiency gains. See Dolphin WaterCare at the 1:50 mark.

When we think about the built enviroment, it is astounding how much water is consumed in the operation of commercial buildings alone.  On a daily basis, commercial office buildings in the United States alone consume 10 billion - yes, that's billion with a B - gallons of water, daily.  Not surprisingly, HVAC systems account for a substantial chunk of this daily usage.  This just underscores the varied opportunities we have to reduce our global water consumption and it is not limited to the well-known water consumers agriculture and residential.  Water resource efficiency in all aspects of civilization is clearly essential not only for the world's population today, but importantly for future generations.

It's easy to say we should all be more responsible when it comes to water usage, focusing on less waste.  While this is true, it will take a far greater effort to truly move the needle.  As a trusted provider of sustainable water treatment solutions, Clearwater Systems is committed to helping solve the world's most demanding sustainability challenges in buildings around the globe.

While there are many chemical water treatment options available for facility owners and operators, each have their own set of pros and cons.  Most traditional chemical treatment options feature corrosion inhibitors and biocides that negatively impact not only the environment, but human health. Additionally, chemical use and handling represents extensive risks for facility operators throughout the lifecycle of chemical process: transportation, storage and handling onsite, drift and evaporation from cooling towers, and disposal of chemical-laden discharge water.  The impact is felt further downstream as already overburdened water treatment plants have to treat the chemical-laden discharge water.

The proven Dolphin WaterCare solution for sustainable facility cooling water treatment offers numerous benefits without chemicals, including:

  • Pollution prevention

  • Water savings

  • Energy savings

  • Re-use of blowdown water for greywater applications

  • Reduced carbon footprint

  • Reduced operating expenses

  • Reduced EH&S risks

One of our customers, a flagship property with the largest hotel group in the world, is realizing tremendous water savings with Dolphin WaterCare which has helped them achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.  See how Dolphin WaterCare is helping this prestigious hotel: see the 1:50 mark in the video):



Today, progressive businesses want to do their part to conserve precious resources vital to life on our planet.  While water efficiency is highly important, eliminating hazardous chemicals used to treat cooling water is also critical, as many of these chemicals end up in waste water treatment facilities that are already over-strained.

As a trusted leader in sustainable water treatment, Dolphin WaterCare delivers tremendous impact not only in terms of the environment, but to our customers' bottom lines as well.  While no single area of focus will conquer our global water crisis, I am proud to lead a company that is improving water efficiency in the built environment.  After all, we all live downstream.

 

Low-hanging Fruit: LEED Points for Existing Buildings with Dolphin WaterCare

  
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Key Takeaways:

  • Dolphin WaterCare can significantly improve building resource efficiency and contribute up to 7 LEED points for existing buildings

  • Dolphin WaterCare can be installed in less than a day and provide immediate economic and environmental benefits to facilities

  • Additional resources:

Increasing focus on Sustainability

With the continued focus on resource efficiency and sustainability within the building industry it is estimated that over 50% of all non-residential construction in the US will be rated as green.

The primary measurement system used in the US to quantify the amount of “greenness” or sustainability a building design has achieved is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). 

 

Dolphin WaterCare Reduces Water Demand

There are over 4.9 million commercial buildings in the U.S., and in aggregate, these buildings use significant quantities of water.  In a typical office building, the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system uses 33% of the total water demand.  Thousands of Dolphin WaterCare chemical-free water treatment systems have been deployed successfully around the world and have demonstrated a reduction in potable water use and wastewater discharges while achieving superior corrosion, scale and bacteria control.  And, because the water discharge or blow-down from a cooling system with Dolphin WaterCare is chemical-free, it can be reused (e.g., landscaping irrigation) to further reduce potable water demand.

 

LEED Points for Installing Dolphin WaterCare  

Dolphin WaterCare has been a solid contributor to the attainment of LEED points in over 350 buildings.  The majority of these LEED points have been for new construction, but about ten percent were for existing buildings.  In the LEED program Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance (EBOM), Dolphin WaterCare contributes points in the following Credit Categories: 

  • Water Efficiency - Dolphin WaterCare has earned points for cooling tower water management and water efficient landscaping.  To earn (1) point for cooling tower water management, a plan must be developed and implemented.  The plan must address cooling water treatment, blow-down, biological control, and maintenance training.  Dolphin WaterCare has written these plans for past projects, which can be readily customized for new opportunities.  Additional points (up to 5) can be attained under the category of water efficient landscaping if the cooling tower blow-down is reused for irrigation.  If this reuse results in a 50% reduction in potable water for irrigation, 1 point is awarded.  If 100% reduction is attained, 5 points are awarded (intermediate levels are 2 points for 62.5%, 3 points for 75%, 4 points for 87.5%).

  • Innovation in Operations – Dolphin WaterCare has earned a 1 point for this category.  This credit is earned by completing a submittal that addresses specific areas of interest by the USGBC.  These are environmental benefits, compliance, and performance metrics achieved by deploying the Dolphin WaterCare system.  Dolphin WaterCare has created this submittal for a majority of its 350 LEED certified projects and has consistently been successful in earning the 1 point credit in this category. 

Other Credit Categories where Dolphin WaterCare could potentially earn LEED points include: 

  • Indoor Environmental Quality – through the elimination of chemicals, Dolphin WaterCare reduces the exposure of building occupants and the surrounding community to potentially harmful contaminants. 

  • Regional Priority – Dolphin WaterCare can earn points on regulatory priorities in geographic regions. 

  • Innovation in Operations: Exemplary Performance – Dolphin WaterCare can earn points though improving water efficiency metrics.

 

Dolphin WaterCare Staff Handles Support Documentation for LEED Point Submittals

Dolphin WaterCare works directly with project managers on LEED projects to obtain required information and generate the actual LEED submittal package.  Essentially, Dolphin WaterCare does all the paperwork to expedite the acquisition of LEED points.  Dolphin WaterCare also provides its contact information to respond to any inquires of the USGBC review board regarding the submittal package.  

 

In a Nutshell:

We have been a member of the USGBC since 2001. The Dolphin WaterCare non-chemical treatment system for cooling towers has earned LEED points on more than 350 projects. Since 2003, Dolphin WaterCare has proven to be a powerful asset to architects and engineers working to achieve LEED certification for their building projects.  We can help you attain LEED points and deliver significant savings to your bottom line while delivering world-class water treatment that ensures peak performance of your cooling system.  Sign up for a free assessment to see how Dolphin WaterCare can help you reach your sustainability goals (and reduce operating costs!).

Download the entire whitepaper complete with detailed appendices:

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