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Benefits of Commercial Water Harvesting

With water quality and scarcity issues persisting throughout the country, water conservation efforts such as water harvesting are becoming increasingly important to many businesses, municipalities, and commercial building owners. Though smaller-scale sustainability efforts such as installing rain barrels can make a difference, investing in a large-scale, commercial water harvesting system can greatly benefit both your business and the environment.

Reduced Municipal Water Use
Depending on the size of the building, installing a commercial water harvesting system can result in upwards of a million gallons or more of municipal water savings per year, reducing pressure on municipal water sources such as groundwater and aquifers. During Wahaso’s scoping process, all potential sources and uses of harvestable water are analyzed, as is rain event data from the past six years. After evaluating supply and demand conditions, Wahaso uses experience from designing and building hundreds of water harvesting systems to recommend the best type of system for your building, based on efficiency in terms of total system cost and total water saved through reuse. This may be a single-source system, such as a rainwater harvesting system, but often multiple sources of harvestable water are used in order to maximize water savings. By combining sources of harvestable water (for example, rainwater and greywater), a commercial water harvesting system can often meet 100% of irrigation or toilet flushing needs for the building, eliminating the need to use municipal water for those purposes.

Cost Savings
By using harvested water for non-potable uses, the building’s demand for municipal water is reduced, resulting in significant cost savings over the life of the building. Installing a commercial water harvesting system can translate into thousands of dollars of savings on municipal water bills each year, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water savings. System payback can occur within the first few years, depending on factors such as the system installed, system efficiency, and the cost of municipal water. We communicate the efficiency and annual dollar savings early in the scoping process, so building owners can evaluate the total value of investing in a water harvesting system. There are also funding resources available such as grants, loans, and stormwater fee discounts for commercial water conservation efforts.

LEED Certification Credits
Many building owners interested in water harvesting are often also considering LEED certification for their project. The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program (LEED) is the most widely used rating system for green building in the world, with certified projects in over 160 countries. The most recent version of LEED, LEED v4, has an increased focus on water conservation, with up to 15 LEED points available for water conservation efforts alone. Wahaso encourages building owners to pursue LEED certification, and can help your project earn the maximum number of LEED credits available through water harvesting. For more information, visit our LEED certification page.

To learn more about water harvesting systems from Wahaso, check out our services page or contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Wahaso’s Roots – Insights Into the Company’s Origins

By Carolyn Cakir June 30, 2016

CHICAGO (Medill)– When John Bauer walked into the building, he looked more like an adventurer going on a hike than a president of a company going into an interview.

His mountain-ready outfit choice, green cargo shorts and a plain T-shirt, reflects his decision to change careers in his 50s. After 35 years as a marketer working for companies like Pillsbury and Tropicana, he forged a new path as an ecological entrepreneur.

Serendipitously, Wahaso co-founder Stuart Bailin approached Bauer in 2007 with a business idea to design water harvesting systems for commercial buildings, just as the marketing consultant was looking for a change.

Bauer had been a consultant for four or five years.

“There’s a frustration with being a consultant in that you do a lot of recommending but you don’t get to see the results,” the Duke University alum says. “You do a lot of work for other people on how they should run their companies. I was very interested in finding my own gig.”

At the time, Bailin was an engineer designing for water bottling factories. He had experience with water treatment products, water pumps and filters, but Bailin wanted Bauer’s opinion as a marketing consultant with experience launching new products and businesses.

“[Bailin] said, ‘Hey, I’ve been requested to provide some equipment for water-harvesting—greywater or rainwater—systems. I’m thinking there might be enough of an opportunity here to start a business, what do you think?’” Bauer recalled.

At the same time, Bauer was looking for a business, where he could use his skills in marketing, brand development, sales and product development.

“Would there be an opportunity in the market where I could enter, where I could bring the skillsets and be able to have my own company?” he says. “Ideally, something that would have a socially responsible role.”

The commercial sector in the U.S. accounts for 17 percent of the withdrawals from public water supplies, making it the country’s second-largest consumer according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Commercial buildings in the U.S. used an average of 23,538 gallons of water per day in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Energy Data Book reports.

Wahaso, which is an acronym for “water harvesting solutions”, designs systems for commercials buildings that collect and process on-site rainwater from rooftops, storm water from run-off and slightly-used greywater for re-use as non-potable (not for drinking) water.

Toilets, heating and air conditioning, and landscaping are the three biggest uses for water in commercial buildings, and all three can be performed using non-potable water.

After doing some market research on water re-use, Bauer discovered that not only did this kind of company not exist but that the demand was there, and the industry was “destined to grow.”

“The concern about the water supply long-term, water shortages in some areas [and] the whole green movement were real big drivers that were going to drive this interest in water re-use,” he said.

Bauer was persuaded that a company like Wahaso would be good for the environment and a perfect fit for him.

“The interest in having my own company, first of all; the trends and the opportunity in the marketplace that was there for a company to be in this space, commercial water re-use; and then just the timing,” he said. “All those things came together to say, this is something I would like to do.”

Bauer decided that he wasn’t going to simply help Bailin; he wanted to team up. The two men had been friends for years—their sons were in Boy Scouts together—but they were going to embark on an entirely new phase in their relationship as business partners.

“We are very different, very complementary, in what we do,” Bauer said. “It was a perfect match between someone who had the technical side—the industry side—and me, who had the marketing, sales and kind of this vision that [Bailin] didn’t have.”

Still, leaving a career in corporate America that spanned 35 years to start a company in an industry that doesn’t exist is tough.

“Talk about defining a business,” Bauer laughed. “It wasn’t like we could look at all the other companies and take the best of all of those. We really were forging a pathway.”

They spent the first few years defining the business model, building the website and marketing themselves to potential clients. “It’s a long runway,” he said. “It’s a long time you need for a lot of energy and effort before you really start seeing revenue coming out.”

Funding was a challenge in those early days; the co-founders were financing the entire project themselves. There were a couple of years, Bauer said, where they weren’t making any money.

“We didn’t have anybody coming with a whole lot of capital saying, here’s $30 million, here’s half a million dollars, to start this company,” he explained. “That meant that we had to be very careful about what we were spending and try to avoid losing money while we’re waiting for that revenue to come in.”

For the first few years, Bailin and Bauer continued working at their old jobs. They were, as Bauer explained it, ways of “providing money at the time when Wahaso really wasn’t.”

Since then Wahaso has expanded to a team of seven employees—five full-time and two part-time—and have worked on projects both big and small. They’ve developed water-harvesting systems for Whole Foods and Starbucks stores, an MGM casino complex in Virginia, Cornell University’s Klarman Hall, state parks and government buildings.

Now, Bauer works at Wahaso full-time. He is able to set up projects with clients across 44 states from the comfort of his waterfront condo in downtown Chicago.

He doesn’t think his situation is unique. In fact, Bauer thinks there are plenty of people his age taking on “second careers,” as he calls them. People get to an age, he explained, when they realize they have “plenty of good years to do what [they] want to do.”

“When you are younger, with the kids at home and financial responsibilities greater, [you] need a salary to sustain that lifestyle,” he said. “Now, there is the freedom to earn less [and], at the same time, get more satisfaction out of what you are doing.”

He paused.

“Actually, I would say, freedom to earn less but with the promise of earning more,” he added. “There’s always the back end. It’s a capitalistic endeavor.”

After working for other people and companies the past 35 years, Bauer is finally getting a taste of what it means to be a business-owner.

“Having your own business is a romanticized thing,” he said. “It’s special to have a business that you start from scratch with no revenue, see it grow, start making a profit, hiring employees. It’s a very exciting thing.”

Plus, he no longer has to wear a tie to the office.

270 Brannan Awarded LEED Platinum Certification

270 Brannan

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently awarded LEED Platinum Certification to 270 Brannan, making it one of only 30 buildings in San Francisco to have earned this prestigious certification.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with over 79,000 participating or certified projects across 160 countries. Projects seeking LEED certification earn points across nine areas addressing sustainability issues, such as sustainable sites and water efficiency. Based on the number of points earned, projects are awarded one of four LEED rating levels, with Platinum being the highest level of certification.

Wahaso helped design the multi-source, multi-use water harvesting system for 270 Brannan, which uses recycled water to meet 100% of irrigation needs and 83% of toilet flushing demand throughout the building. As a result of the project’s water conservation efforts, 270 Brannan earned 100% of LEED points available for water efficiency.

Wahaso is proud to have been a part of this project, and congratulates 270 Brannan and SKS Partners on achieving Platinum Certification. For more information, the full press release is available on Business Wire.

Wahaso encourages building owners to pursue LEED certification, and actively supports certification efforts through water harvesting and conservation. To learn more, visit our LEED Certification page.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

LEED v4 Officially Takes Full Effect

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program, also known as LEED, is the most widely used rating system for green building in the world. With certified projects in over 160 countries, LEED has shown continued growth since its introduction 16 years ago.

The fourth version of LEED, also known as LEED v4, was set to take full effect in June 2015; however, the registration period for LEED 2009 was extended until October 2016. Now that the extension period has come to an end, LEED v4 is officially in full effect. Previously registered projects can still submit for certification under LEED 2009 until June 30, 2021, but all new projects must meet LEED v4 standards.

LEED v4 was launched in 2013 with the goal of raising the bar for the green building industry, encouraging building owners to strive for higher levels of efficiency. Though more challenging, LEED v4 is also more flexible than ever, with certifications available for all stages of building projects including new construction, major renovations, and existing buildings. LEED v4’s higher standards come with many benefits as well, both for building owners and for the environment.

For example, LEED v4 has an increased focus on water conservation, with 15 LEED points available for water conservation efforts alone. As quoted from the USGBC, “The Water Efficiency (WE) section in the newest version of LEED addresses water holistically, taking into account indoor use, outdoor use, specialized uses and metering. It measures all sources of water related to a building, including cooling towers, appliances, fixtures, fittings, process water, and irrigation. Whole-building-level water metering ensures projects can monitor and control their water use in order to identify opportunities for water savings. LEED v4 also encourages projects to reuse water, including reclaimed wastewater, graywater, condensate, process water, and rainwater, for irrigation, toilet flushing and more.”

Wahaso encourages building owners to pursue and achieve LEED certification, and can help support these efforts through water harvesting and conservation. To learn more, visit our LEED certification page or contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Greenbuild 2016 Announcement

greenbuild-2016-iconic-green

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the world’s largest green building conference, brings together industry leaders, experts, and professionals each year to share their passion for sustainability and green building. Greenbuild features inspiring speakers, networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops, and tours of the host city’s green buildings over the three day conference and expo.

Wahaso is excited to be returning to this year’s Greenbuild, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center October 5-7th. Going to Greenbuild 2016? Visit us at Booth #2501, located to the right of the expo entrance.

greenbuild-floor-plan

While at Greenbuild, be sure to pick up the Greenbuild Special Edition of US Builders Review. This special edition highlights companies whose operations are dedicated to sustainability and green building, and Wahaso is honored to be featured. Not attending Greenbuild, or interested in reading it now? Wahaso’s feature article, as well as the entire special edition, can be read online here.

About Wahaso:
Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions is a design-build firm specializing in rainwater, greywater, and multi-source systems for on-site water reuse in commercial and municipal buildings. It is our core competencies in system design, filtration, control systems, our experience, and our focus on only the commercial building market that set us aside from other system suppliers. As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Wahaso is dedicated to helping our clients achieve LEED certification by actively supporting the design and documentation of a water harvesting approach to maximize LEED points.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

US Builders Review Greenbuild Special Edition

greenbuild2016specialedition

Following the announcement of US Builders Review 2016 Editor’s Choice Honorees, the Greenbuild Special Edition of US Builders Review has been published online! This special edition highlights “companies from across the country that have committed their enterprises to sustainable and energy-efficient building designs and operations” and will be distributed at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Los Angeles, CA this October.

Wahaso is honored to have been selected as one of the featured companies. As quoted from the article, “Demand on our municipal drinking water supplies has been growing at an unsustainable rate; with population growth, climate change and declining infrastructure, over 70 percent of U.S. counties face risk to water supplies by 2050. Municipalities are responding by raising water rates, mandating water-efficient fixtures and looking for sustainable solutions that collect and reuse non-potable supplies available on-site. In Hinsdale, Illinois, “Wahaso” — short for Water Harvesting Solutions Inc. — is doing just that by bringing rainwater and greywater harvesting systems to the commercial and institutional markets.”

Wahaso’s feature article, as well as the entire special edition, can be read online here. The article is also available as a PDF download.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Cornell University’s Klarman Hall Recieves LEED Platinum Certification

Klarman Hall, Cornell University’s recently opened College of Arts and Sciences building, has officially been awarded LEED Platinum certification. In order to earn LEED Platinum status, a project must earn a total of 80 or more LEED points, and the building earned 87 out of a possible 110 points – the most Cornell has ever received on a LEED certified project. The LEED certification of Klarman Hall is Cornell’s 19th LEED certified campus building or space, and the fourth LEED platinum certified building on the main campus.

The building planners utilized a variety of sustainability efforts to achieve LEED Platinum certification, including a custom rainwater harvesting system designed and built by Wahaso. The water harvesting system was a part of Klarman Hall’s building plans, as it was a new construction project, but the system also required a retro-fit design for the current Goldman Smith Hall. Rainwater is collected from the rooftops of both buildings, as well as from the 1,200 square feet of green roof space on Klarman Hall. The rainwater is then cleaned, sanitized, and pressurized for reuse in toilet flushing throughout both buildings, and unused rainwater is stored in a 6,000 gallon cistern.

Reclaimed water from the rainwater harvesting system provides Klarman and Goldman Smith Hall with approximately 1,950 gallons of water each day for toilet flushing, which reduces the need to use potable water for this purpose. As reported by the Cornell Chronicle, the system has reduced municipal water use by about 70 percent. In addition to the water harvesting system, Klarman Hall also features photovoltaic arrays to offset energy use, a 7,700 square foot sunlight filled atrium with an environmental sunshade, and 1,200 square feet of green roof space.

By incorporating water harvesting into a building’s sustainability efforts, projects can earn up to 15 points towards LEED certification. As a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) member, Wahaso encourages and supports building owners in achieving LEED certification through water harvesting initiatives. Interested in learning more? Check out our LEED certification page or contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Wahaso Celebrates 900 Projects

Wahaso is excited to announce that our 900th project officially entered our project pipeline last week! Having recently celebrated our 800th project in December 2015, the addition of our 900th project in July 2016 means that 100 projects have been added to our pipeline over the past seven months.

Because water harvesting systems are normally designed and specified early in a building’s design, the number of projects entering our pipeline now is an excellent indicator of the number of systems that will be installed and operating in the near future, typically within the next one to three years. With the influx of new projects that have entered our project pipeline over the past seven months, we are enthusiastic about the number of water harvesting systems that will be up and running in 2017 through 2019.

Since Wahaso was founded in 2008, we’ve brought over 25 years of combined experience and expertise in designing and building water harvesting systems to every project, and look forward to continued growth in the future. To learn more about some of the projects we have worked on over the past eight years, check out our projects page here.

Interested in incorporating a water harvesting system into your building plans? Contact us to learn more about our commercial water harvesting systems or to start the scoping process today!

The Value of Condensate Harvesting

condensate system
The condensate harvesting system at the FDA Lab in Laurel, MD captures condensate for reuse in cooling tower make-up. The system harvests 3-6 gallons per minute during peak cooling periods.

Though rainwater and stormwater harvesting typically come to mind when evaluating reusable water sources, condensate is an excellent source of water for collection and reuse.

As explained by Wahaso president John R. Bauer, “Cooling condensate is one of the least understood or appreciated sources for on-site water collection – yet in a typical commercial building, it can yield hundreds of thousands of gallons of water savings per year.” He continued, “Condensate is generally clean and a great source for water harvesting, yet most buildings discard it to the sewer drain- adding a burden to the municipal water treatment system. Unlike collecting greywater, which requires a lot of additional plumbing in a building, and is nearly impossible in a retrofit, condensate collection is usually very easy and inexpensive to do – even in an existing building.”

Condensate comes from the cooling coils of any air conditioning system, and in a large commercial building, a million gallons or more of condensate can be generated each cooling season. This quality source of harvestable water is typically redirected into the municipal stormwater system, wasting clean water that could have been harvested, treated, and reused. Harvesting cooling condensate is often a fairly simple operation, even in an existing building, and can be as simple as redirecting the wastewater line to the water harvesting system.

What is the value of a condensate harvesting system? When evaluating it in terms of the number of gallons of condensate that can be harvested each year, its value depends on the size of the building and the amount of cooling required each year. The following chart provides rough estimations based on 50,000 square foot buildings located in different cities throughout the country. Actual water savings will likely vary from the values listed here, but this chart is helpful in understanding the potential for a condensate harvesting system in different areas.

Condensate Value Chart

*In the chart above, the “Cooling Degree Day” (CDD) metric is the number of degrees that a day’s average temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is typically when people begin to use air conditioning to cool their buildings. The price of weather derivatives trading in the summer are based on an index made up of monthly cooling degree day values.

In many cases, the amount of condensate coming from a cooling system is directly proportional to the load on the system, meaning that the more water that is lost through evaporation, the more that is available as condensate for reuse. Also, not only can condensate be reused on its own to reduce cooling tower and air conditioning water use, but it is also an excellent way to increase the efficiency of a rainwater harvesting system. By providing a daily supply of harvested water even during periods of drought, utilizing condensate in addition to rainwater can help reduce the number of days that municipal water needs to be added to the system.

For more information about condensate harvesting systems from Wahaso, visit our condensate page or contact us today!

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

LEED by the Numbers

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with about 1.85 million square feet of green building certified daily. Since its introduction 16 years ago, LEED has grown to nearly 80,000 participating projects and more than 32,500 certified commercial projects in 162 countries worldwide.

Introduced in 2000 as a rating system for new construction projects, the USGBC expanded LEED certification to allow for other building types to become certified within a few years of its introduction. Over its first six years, the USGBC registered about 60 LEED projects a month, a number that would grow to 700 projects a month by 2008.

Despite a decrease in new construction projects due to the recession from 2007 to 2009, LEED continued to show an increase in project registrations during those years. With the launch of two new versions, v2009 in 2009 and v4 in 2013, LEED has continued this steady growth trend to this day. Today, as more municipalities and governments are beginning to mandate conservation efforts, green building and LEED certifications will likely continue to increase in the years to come.

Through the design and installation of water harvesting systems, Wahaso is proud to have helped contribute to these numbers by supporting and encouraging commercial and municipal building owners to pursue LEED certification. For more information about how water harvesting and conservation efforts can help your green building project earn LEED v4 credits, check out our LEED certification page.

The statistics above are sourced from a recent article published by the USGBC. The full article is available on the USGBC website.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is an Elmhurst College graduate with a degree in Marketing, and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

US Builders Review Announcement

Editors Choice Logo

We are excited to announce that Wahaso has been chosen as a 2016 US Builders Review Editor’s Choice honoree, and will be featured in the Greenbuild Special Edition of US Builders Review this fall!

The Greenbuild Special Edition highlights “companies from across the country that have committed their enterprises to sustainable and energy-efficient building designs and operations,” and we are honored to have been selected as one of the featured companies. The three to four page, full-color article will showcase Wahaso’s projects, operations, and strategies while also highlighting the importance of water conservation.

US Builders Review is a business-to-business trade journal with a national readership of more than a quarter million. As an official media partner with the International Greenbuild Conference and Expo, the Greenbuild Special Edition of US Builders Review will be distributed at this year’s Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Los Angeles, CA.

Rainwater Collection Will Soon Be Allowed in Colorado

Rain Barrels

Great news – rainwater harvesting will soon be allowed in Colorado! Currently, Colorado is the only state to ban the collection of rainwater in rain barrels, but House Bill 1005 will allow Coloradans to use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels to collect rainwater for watering lawns or gardens when signed into law.

A similar bill went un-passed last year, due to concerns over the effects of rainwater collection on the state’s water supply and on existing water rights. According to the Colorado Independent, backers of the re-introduced bill cited a recent Colorado State University study that found that rainwater collection would not impact water supply or long-held water rights. To protect water rights holders, amendments were added giving the state engineer’s office regulatory authority over the water collected in rain barrels.

Earlier this week, the bill went to the full Colorado Senate for debate and vote, and as reported by the Denver Post, it was passed in the state Senate 27-6 on Friday, April 1st. The bill is now headed to the desk of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to be signed into law. Earlier in the week, Governor John Hickenlooper stated that he is in support of the bill and optimistic he will see a rain-barrel bill on his desk for him to sign into law this year. With the passing of the bill in the Senate, this will now be the case!

In a statement following the Senate vote, Pete Maysmith, the executive director of Conservation Colorado noted, “This is an exciting day for Coloradans.” He continued, “Now more than ever we need innovative tools to prepare us for a future characterized by a growing population and water challenges from climate change such as decreased snowpack and extreme drought.”

We at Wahaso are excited about the bill’s recent developments, and for the future of rainwater harvesting in the state. Our greywater harvesting system at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Williams Village was commissioned in late 2015, and we look forward to working on more water reuse projects in Colorado.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Green Building Expected to Double by 2018

USGBC

A recent study conducted of over 70 countries by Dodge Data and Analytics and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) shows that green building continues to double every three years, and is expected to do so again by 2018. The report also found that emerging economies such as Brazil, India, and South Africa will be the “engine” of this growth, with development ranging from two to six times current green building levels.

With the global popularity of the LEED program, green building has grown to a trillion dollar industry, with 1.85 million square feet of building space becoming LEED certified every day. The increased demand for green building projects has also resulted in growth in the green building materials market, which is projected to reach $234 billion by 2019.

Of those surveyed, the report found that the most important reasons for building green were to reduce water consumption (31% globally), reduce energy consumption (66% globally), and to lower greenhouse gas emissions (24% globally). The report also found that “green buildings offer significant operational cost savings compared with conventional buildings” which has contributed to the growth of the industry.

As a USGBC member, Wahaso supports building owners in achieving LEED certification through water harvesting efforts, and we are excited to see continued growth in green building worldwide. For more information on how water harvesting can help your green building project earn up to 15 LEED v4 points, visit our LEED Certification page here.

For more on this study, check out the press release from the USGBC or download the full report here from Dodge Data and Analytics.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

El Niño Storms Begin in Drought-Ridden California

As the first of many El Niño storms began to arrive this past Tuesday, California officials have continued to emphasize water conservation after the state missed mandated conservation targets in two consecutive months. Californians have been urged to not abandon conservation efforts, despite the heavy rains expected over the coming weeks. Though the increase in precipitation is much needed, one strong El Niño season is unlikely to make up for the four years of drought the state has faced.

El Niño, the periodic warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean that occurs every 2-7 years, results in significant impacts on weather patterns and ocean temperatures during El Niño years. This year’s El Niño is tied with the 1997-98’s as the strongest on record, but according to data from the NOAA, it appears to have already peaked. Despite this, the effects of El Niño are expected to remain strong throughout the winter and into late spring, bringing increased precipitation across California and parts of the Western and Southern United States. The National Weather Service has forecast that this first set of storms alone could bring 15 inches of rain to Northern California and 14 inches of snow to the highest points of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Unfortunately, this increase in precipitation could cause mudslides and flooding, as seen in previous El Niño years.

cpc-jan-mar-2016-precip-outlook

For more information on El Niño, check out this previous post from the Wahaso blog.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Greenbuild 2015 Announcement

GreenBuild DC

As the green building industry continues to grow, events like the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo become bigger and better every year. Wahaso is excited to be returning to this year’s Greenbuild expo in Washington D.C. during the week of November 16th along with thousands of other attendees and exhibitors dedicated to sustainable building.

Greenbuild is the world’s largest green building conference, bringing together industry leaders, experts, and professionals every year to share their passion for sustainability. The conference and expo features inspiring speakers, networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops, and tours of the host city’s green buildings over three exciting days.

This year, Greenbuild is featuring a “Water Pavillion,” bringing together leaders in the water harvesting industry in one location within the expo hall. Going to Greenbuild 2015 in Washington D.C.? Wahaso’s booth will be located to the right of the entrance at Booth #2604. If you will be attending, stop by to receive a free Wahaso rain gauge! We feel that these water gauges highlight the fact that most parts of our country receive plentiful amounts of rainwater, offering a free and valuable resource for capture and reuse.

Download Wahaso’s official Greenbuild announcement here.

GreenBuild Floor Plan

About Wahaso:
Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions is a design-build firm specializing in rainwater, greywater, and multi-source systems for on-site water reuse in commercial and municipal buildings. It is our core competencies in system design, filtration, control systems, our experience, and our focus on only the commercial building market that set us aside from other system suppliers. As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Wahaso is dedicated to helping our clients achieve LEED certification by actively supporting the design and documentation of a water harvesting approach to maximize LEED points.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Reusable Water Sources

With drought and dry conditions affecting much of the country, the idea of harvesting on-site water sources for non-potable reuse has increasingly become a part of sustainability conversations. Capturing and reusing rainwater, greywater, and even cooling condensate for non-potable uses like irrigation, toilet flushing, and cooling tower make-up makes a lot of sense in arid portions of the country where drought and water scarcity have always been a concern. However, the long-term sustainability of municipal water resources is a growing concern in many other parts of the country as well where fresh water resources seem abundant, and the idea of water harvesting may not be as common in those areas.

For this reason, Wahaso has created this helpful guide, highlighting our top five sources of harvestable water for on-site reuse.

Rainwater

Perhaps the most well-known of reusable water sources, rainwater has been captured and recycled for thousands of years. Rainwater is free and requires less treatment than other sources of reusable water, making it an ideal source for water harvesting. By definition, rainwater is precipitation that is collected from above ground surfaces, such as rooftops, which provides a generally clean source of reusable water, saving sanitization costs necessary for other sources of reusable water such as stormwater or greywater. For homeowners, simply investing in rain barrels can help reduce water usage, as collected water can then be reused to water plants. However, in commercial buildings, recycling rainwater can lead to sizeable water savings, as the large rooftop areas can often collect enough rainwater to meet most of the building’s toilet flushing and irrigation needs. For more information, visit our rainwater harvesting page.

Stormwater

While we may think of “rainwater” and “stormwater” as being synonymous, they are very different sources when considered for harvesting. Though they both come from the same rain event, “rainwater” is precipitation collected from relatively clean above ground surfaces, but once that rainwater reaches the ground, it becomes “stormwater.” Stormwater may be contaminated with silt, oil and fluids from cars, road salt, nitrates, and fertilizers from landscaped areas, and because of this, it requires additional filtration and cleaning steps. Despite that, once collected, filtered, and sanitized, stormwater is an excellent reusable source of water. Harvesting stormwater reduces pressure on the municipal treatment system, provides an onsite reusable source of water, and saves money and water by not having to use clean, municipal drinking water for irrigation or toilet flushing. For more information, visit our stormwater harvesting page.

Greywater

Greywater- also known as graywater, grey water, or gray water- is differentiated from other reusable water sources as it has already been “gently used,” usually as water from showers and sinks. When properly cleaned and stored, greywater can be a valuable source of water to be reused for toilet flushing or for irrigation. An efficient greywater system requires a steady source of greywater from showers and sinks, so buildings with full time residents such as apartments, dormitories, hotels, and schools are excellent candidates for a greywater system. Because the supply in these buildings is steady and predictable and toilet flushing is generally linked to sink and shower usage, often the supply of greywater can meet 100% of the building’s toilet flushing needs. Although greywater requires additional sanitization and processing as compared to other reusable water sources, the storage requirements are drastically less than rainwater harvesting systems, which can bring the cost into the price range of a traditional rainwater harvesting system. For more information, visit our greywater harvesting page.

Condensate

While cooling towers can be major consumers of water in a commercial building, they also produce significant amounts of potentially harvestable water as they dehumidify the air inside the building. Cooling systems in commercial buildings can generate over a million gallons of condensate each cooling season, yet this quality source of reusable water is often left unused and redirected into the municipal sewer system. As the amount of condensate produced by a cooling system is directly proportional to the load on the system, it is an efficient way to conserve and reuse water on-site. For more information, visit our condensate harvesting page.

Multiple Sources

Though not technically a source of reusable water, utilizing multiple sources such as rainwater, greywater, and condensate together can result in a highly efficient water recycling system as well as reduced municipal water usage, lessening the building’s impact on the environment. As rainwater is often an unreliable source of reusable water that fluctuates with the amount of precipitation, utilizing additional sources such as greywater and condensate that do not rely on precipitation is an excellent way to increase system efficiency. Each building has unique water supply and demand needs, so Wahaso evaluates all of a building’s available water sources and applications for reuse to minimize the use of municipal water. For more information, visit our multi-source system page.

Wahaso has designed over 800 water harvesting systems across the U.S. and Canada with over 25 years of experience in commercial and municipal systems. By incorporating a holistic approach in the design of our systems, Wahaso provides the optimal solution for your building, resulting in more sustainable and environmentally sound water use. For more information, contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

Commercial Water Harvesting Trends in the U.S.

A Revue of 300 Water Reuse Projects by a Leading System Provider Lends Insight into Trends Driving an Emerging New Market

While rainwater harvesting and other forms of onsite water reuse have been practiced for thousands of years, the application of water harvesting systems in commercial and large institutional projects is still a relatively new practice. Factors such as drought, concerns for municipal water supplies, trends in green building, and changing municipal guidelines have contributed to a recent surge in commercial projects, specifically systems that capture rainwater, greywater, and other on-site water sources for reuse. Captured water is sanitized and pressurized for safe reuse in flushing toilets, irrigating landscaping, as well as other uses. A typical commercial system can save one to three million gallons of municipal drinking water every year for the life of the building.

Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions was founded in 2008, and is a leading design-build firm in the industry. The company focuses entirely on the designing and building of commercial water harvesting systems and has designed nearly 800 projects throughout the U.S. and Canada, with hundreds of installed and active “pipeline” projects in the works. Wahaso recently looked back on the 300 projects it has designed in the past two years to help bring light to the trends driving the industry.

John R. Bauer, President of Wahaso, reviewed the project statistics to draw insights from the recent trends. Because systems are normally designed and specified early in a building’s design, projects initiated in the past two years are a good indicator of the landscape of systems that are likely to be installed and operating in 2016 to 2018. Note that the trends outlined as follows only reflect those seen by one company and do not account for strong regional players or that many of the projects designed may never be funded; however, these trends still give insight into an important emerging market.

Drought, Codes, and Sustainability Drive Geographic Trends
It makes sense that states with the most severe municipal water supply issues are likely to be the most interested in saving water through harvesting efforts. With this in mind, it was not surprising that California had more projects added over the last two years than any other state. Other dry states such as Texas, Arizona, and Florida have also seen a steady growth in projects.

However, drought is not the only driving factor of projects in drier states. As Bauer explained, “Drought alone will not drive projects- the surge in California projects is also being driven by a change in municipal codes.” This can be seen in southern California and the Bay Area, where municipalities are now mandating some sort of water reuse on major new projects. Six years ago, it was illegal to flush toilets with any water source other than municipally certified drinking water, even amidst drought conditions.

Project growth in less drought-affected states such as Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. are more likely a reflection of the general interest in sustainability in those regions than an urgent requirement to preserve municipal water supplies. Recent trends in sustainability, green building, and LEED certification have driven commercial, residential, and municipal building owners to incorporate water harvesting systems into their plans or to retrofit systems into older buildings.

Projects by State

Rainwater Harvesting Still On Top
System design begins with an analysis of all available on-site water sources and potential uses, resulting in a Water Balance report by Wahaso. System efficiency, measured by total water savings, is often improved by gathering multiple sources and then applying it in more than one way, so rainwater and cooling condensate might be collected to irrigate and to flush toilets. Or alternatively, greywater and rainwater might be collected to flush toilets and to help cool the building. However, rainwater-only systems still make up the majority of projects initiated with Wahaso, with those projects representing 65% of all systems.

Despite rainwater harvesting making up the majority of the projects, multi-source systems and greywater systems account for another 27%. Greywater systems make the most sense in arid states, and Bauer notes that recent water treatment technology advances and industry standards should spurn rapid growth in greywater reuse in California and other Southwest states.

Irrigation is the most common application of harvested water, with those projects making up about half of all systems the company has designed in the past two years. Toilet flushing is the next most common with about 20% of projects, followed by systems supporting multiple uses. An emerging application is the use of harvested water in evaporative cooling systems, which currently comprised of about 10% of the company’s projects. Bauer noted that cooling tower supply systems tend to be highly efficient due to the vast amounts of water evaporated and the relative low cost of the filtration and pressurization systems.

Projects by System Type

Commercial Projects Taking the Lead
A significant trend over the past two years has been the increased interest in water harvesting systems for commercial properties. The early adopters of systems were institutions such as schools, municipal buildings, and government projects- in particular, military buildings. According to Bauer, “Municipalities like Chicago and New York were anxious to see these systems put into use and funded many of our earlier projects. A requirement for green certification in new military base buildings also drove a lot of our projects, and still do.” Now, commercial projects make up about half of all the systems the company has designed in the past two years, with offices and housing developments making up the majority of those projects.

Projects by Owner Type

Most Projects Happen in New Construction
New building projects make up nearly two-thirds of the systems the company has supported in the past two years, as it is often easier to fund a harvesting system in the scope of a large project than to fund a project for an existing building when the system must compete with other ROI projects. “There is no question that a majority of the projects we see are for new construction,” explained Bauer, “new buildings have far fewer constraints on the water sources and uses, particularly as it relates to plumbing for greywater collection and toilet flushing.” However, the company still sees great potential for retrofit projects, especially rainwater or stormwater harvesting systems used for irrigation or cooling tower make-up. These systems typically do not require expensive plumbing modifications to reap water savings, and make up about 20% of the projects the company sees.

Projects by Construction Type

Overall, Wahaso is enthusiastic about the growth of recent projects coming into the company pipeline, as well as the growth of the industry as a whole. To view case studies of installed projects, visit the Wahaso projects page.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

This post was originally published as a press release on October 21, 2015. View on PRWeb or download the PDF version here.

Benefits of Greywater Recycling

With the United States Drought Monitor’s most recent report that over half the country is facing abnormally dry or drought conditions, now is a more important time than ever to think about greywater harvesting. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, approximately 52% of the United States, including the normally rainy northwestern state of Washington, is in the midst of drought and is facing the reality of water shortages. Though much of the country is facing short-term drought or dry conditions, meaning six months or less, the majority of the west and northwest is in long-term drought conditions, meaning six months or more. Regardless of whether the U.S. is facing long or short-term drought, integrating water harvesting systems into the infrastructure is an important sustainability measure for dry conditions now, and for overall water sustainability for the future.

Greywater, also known as “graywater” or “grey water,” is different from other on-site water sources such as rainwater or condensate as it has already been gently used. Greywater is the water from sinks and showers, and is highly reliable for water harvesting as it provides a constant source of recyclable water, especially in residential buildings where shower and bath water are readily available. Harvesting greywater is an excellent way to get other uses out of water that would normally end up as sewage.

greywater processing skidOnce treated, sanitized, and pressurized, greywater is then classified as “on-site treated non-potable water” and can safely be used for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses. The amount of sink and shower usage in a building usually coincides with toilet flushing, so there is supply every day to meet demand. In most cases, greywater harvesting can easily supply 100% of the building’s toilet flushing needs and still have water remaining for irrigation or cooling tower make-up. That daily availability also greatly reduces the cost of water storage as compared to a rainwater harvesting system. A typical residential building can easily save one to three million gallons of municipal water per year with greywater harvesting.

Although states facing long-term drought such as California have already begun greywater harvesting, other western states facing long-term drought and even those facing short-term drought could benefit from greywater harvesting. Because precipitation cannot be controlled and is often an unreliable source of recyclable water, greywater harvesting provides a constant source of reusable water, reducing pressure on the municipal water supply, which is especially important in drought conditions.

Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions has extensive experience in developing and managing greywater systems for commercial properties. Our processes remove all suspended solids and thoroughly sanitize the water so it is crystal clear and safe for reuse to flush toilets, irrigate landscaping or make up water to evaporative cooling towers. Wahaso’s process meets the stringent NSF-350 standard for commercial greywater reuse. For more information about Wahaso’s greywater harvesting systems, click here or contact us today!

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

10 Ways to Conserve Water

While drought continues to linger in states such as California and Texas, dry conditions have started to make their way across the United States. Sustainable water use may not currently be a practice of necessity in some states, but making these habits second nature can help to conserve our planet’s most precious resource now and for when the time comes.

Though Wahaso specializes in commercial water harvesting systems, we always encourage sustainable water use at home as well! Here are Wahaso’s top ten ways to conserve water:

10. Turn Off the Faucet While Washing Hands

Turning off the water while you lather your hands or brush your teeth can save up to four gallons a minute. Though it may seem small, it adds up quickly and can result in hundreds of gallons of water savings!

9. Check Faucets for Leaks

A leaky faucet may be annoying, but it also leads to gallons of water going right down the drain. One drop every second can add up to five gallons per day, and that’s only for one faucet!

8. Only Wash Full Loads of Laundry or Dishes

Running the washer or dishwasher only when full can add up to thousands of gallons of water savings over the course of year!

7. Reuse Water Used for Cooking

Before you pour out water used to cook pasta or vegetables, reuse it as a base for soup. Alternatively, let it cool down and then use it for watering plants!

6. Switch to a High Efficiency (HE) Dishwasher

Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand, and high efficiency dishwashers can help you save even more! Also, if your dishwasher is new, cut down on rinsing beforehand as newer washers clean better than older ones.

5. Install Water Saving Showerheads

Replace old showerheads with WaterSense labeled shower heads. They are 20% more water efficient than average showerheads and can save up to 750 gallons of water per month!

4. Take Shorter Showers, Not Baths!

Shortening your shower by just a minute or keeping your showers under five minutes are both simple ways that can lead to big water savings, up to 1000 gallons per month!

3. Collect Water in a Rain Barrel for Reuse

If you live in an area that receives regular rainfall, collect water to use later for watering plants rather than using the hose!

2. Utilize Passive Methods of Water Harvesting

If possible, replace your asphalt driveway with permeable pavement, or create vegetated swales alongside of your driveway with gravel, plants, and grasses. Also, select plants and grasses that match the climate to avoid having a lawn that needs constant watering!

1. Install a Rainwater or Greywater Harvesting System

On a larger scale, as a water harvesting company, we recommend installing water harvesting systems in commercial and municipal buildings if possible! Wahaso has designed hundreds of systems, providing the optimal solution for your building, resulting in more sustainable and environmentally sound water use. To get started with our free scoping process, contact us!

For more water saving tips, check out Water Use It Wisely’s 100+ Ways to Conserve Water. No matter how small or large, every conservation effort makes a difference!

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Assistant at Wahaso.

What is El Niño, and What Does it Mean for California?

El Niño, also known as the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, typically occurs every two to seven years, resulting in above-average ocean surface temperatures across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. As described by the LA Times, this warming can significantly impact weather patterns, shifting a subtropical jet stream that normally rains down on Southern Mexico and Central America up to California and the southern United States.

With the release of the most recent El Niño forecast this past Thursday, Californians are desperately hoping that predictions of it being one of the strongest in the past 50 years prove to be true. In the midst of a four-year drought, a record breaking El Niño could result in a much-needed reprieve for California, giving the dwindling water supply a chance to recharge and providing California with the rain it desperately needs. Up until Thursday, predictions for this year’s El Niño indicated that it was on pace with 1997’s, which is the strongest on record to this day. However, Thursday’s predictions show that this year’s is stronger than it was at this point in 1997, giving it the potential to be the most powerful El Niño on record.

Despite this, predictions do not yet show that this El Niño is strong enough to quench the entire state, and Northern California needs the rain too. As shown in the graphic below, May, June, and July’s predictions for this winter’s El Niño call for a likely wetter-than-average winter from San Diego to San Francisco. This leaves the Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville reservoirs dry, where most of the state’s water supply is stored. So although Southern California has an above-normal precipitation outlook for this winter, it would require a record breaking El Niño to quench the northern part of the state.

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Factoring in that California has been dry for much of the last 15 years, and in drought for four years, dry conditions in California are unlikely to end soon. As explained by Kevin Werner, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s expert on climate in the western United States, “A single El Niño year is very unlikely to erase four years of drought.” The Weather Channel further confirmed this sentiment, stating “Those hoping for drought relief next winter in the Golden State shouldn’t immediately draw a conclusion that significant rains are ahead in any El Niño year.”

Also, higher than average temperatures in California may result in much of the precipitation falling as rain, which will do nothing to replenish the snow pack. Water stored in the snow pack on mountains allows the water supply to slowly trickle down as it melts, but too much rain at one time could result in mudslides, flooding, and rainwater ending up in the oceans instead of where it’s most needed: in California’s reservoirs.

So with all of these factors combined, what does this mean for California? From a sustainability perspective, Californians should plan ahead for El Niño rather than wait and view it as a saving grace. Once the rains come, little can be done to collect the rainwater without water harvesting systems in place, resulting in flooding and runoff into the ocean. However, the drought has caused many communities in California to require stormwater detention in new building projects, which is a great opportunity for new developments to prepare for this year’s El Niño. These systems filter and detain tens of thousands of gallons of stormwater to help reduce flooding and the impact of large storm events on water treatment facilities, while offering a source for on-site treated water harvesting and reuse. By integrating active and passive rainwater and stormwater harvesting systems, California can better prepare for El Niño rains and better utilize the rainwater it has been waiting for over the past four years.

Wahaso has designed, built, and installed hundreds of water collection and reuse systems across the United States and Canada, including many in California amid the current drought. By designing unique water harvesting systems, Wahaso provides the optimal solution for your building, resulting in more sustainable and environmentally sound water use. To get started, contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a rising senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Intern at Wahaso.

The Clean Power Plan is Now – What’s Next?

Since its initial proposal in 2014, the Clean Power Plan has gained unprecedented traction and engagement as the focus on climate change continues to influence national conversation. In response, President Barack Obama and the EPA officially announced the Clean Power Plan this past Monday. As quoted from the official press release on EPA.gov, “the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy.”

The Clean Power plan provides attainable emissions standards for existing power plants, as well as customized goals on a state-by-state basis to reduce carbon pollution, providing national consistency while also taking each state’s current energy situation into account. If properly implemented, the Clean Power Plan will show global powers that the United States is committed to addressing climate change and will hopefully result in significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

With increasing worldwide focus on climate change and the announcement of the Clean Power Plan, when will other sustainable initiatives such as alternative energy or water harvesting gain national traction? While reducing carbon emissions is a step in the right direction, acting on climate change is going to require a multi-faceted approach, combining multiple sustainability initiatives rather than just combating carbon emissions.

If a similar plan was implemented to encourage water reuse efforts, even just for municipal buildings, the United States could potentially influence an increase in water harvesting systems across the country. A typical commercial rainwater harvesting system in one building can save 1-3 million gallons of municipal drinking water each year, and those savings could quickly add up to billions of gallons per year if embraced by both public and private developments. Water harvesting has been gaining traction in drought-ridden parts of the country such as California, where the diminishing water supply is an imminent issue, though it has not yet gained popularity in areas of the country that receive regular rainfall.

Water Supply

Water harvesting should be an integral part of sustainability solutions in arid and rainy areas of the country alike, as it is a long-term solution that can be implemented alongside other efforts to further help combat climate change. A poll of municipalities across the country by the Natural Resources Defense Council found extreme or high risk for water shortages in half of U.S. counties by the year 2050 due to climate change, population growth, and aging infrastructure. Integrating water harvesting systems into the infrastructure will not only preserve our threatened municipal water supply, but also help to prepare for the future effects of climate change.

Wahaso has worked on hundreds of systems throughout the nation and we pride ourselves on unique solutions for water reuse that can optimize water savings at affordable costs. The first step to see if water harvesting makes sense for your project is to go through our free scoping process. To get started, contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a rising senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Intern at Wahaso.

Let’s Not Forget the Lessons of Drought

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“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Though it was said over 200 years ago, this quote by Benjamin Franklin could not be more relevant today in states such as Texas and California. The prospect of long-term droughts and even decades long “mega droughts” has become the new reality in water sourcing for our Western and Southwestern states. Municipalities are struggling with writing new codes and adding new restrictions to make every effort to preserve this critical natural resource. Water efficient fixtures, irrigation restrictions, and higher water rates have become the essential municipal tools to reduce water consumption, and on-site water reuse (water harvesting) is quickly becoming one more tool in that water-conservation toolbox.

But what happens after the rains return? Can we let ourselves forget the lessons learned by drought? Texas was recently given some relief from its four-year water shortage, coming in the form of massive rains. Weeks of torrential rains and flooding hit the state, putting 37 counties in Texas into a state of disaster and claiming over 20 lives. This rainfall lasting about four weeks has filled reservoirs and sparked claims that the Texas drought is now over, and it would seem as though this is true for at least in parts of the state, where according to the Texas Water Development Board, every reservoir in eastern Texas is more than 90% full.

With water now (at least temporarily!) plentiful in parts of Texas, will interest in water harvesting and other conservation efforts diminish? Water harvesting in particular is a long-term strategy and investment, and although the current drought may be ending, will Texas be ready when the next major drought hits? By integrating water harvesting systems into the Texas infrastructure now, the state of Texas could begin to prepare for drought, rather than being forced to drain aquifers and reservoirs when water once again becomes scarce. Water harvesting systems could be put in place to collect and reuse rainwater and stormwater during wetter months, allowing the state to be constantly prepared when the next drought arrives.

Despite the rainy month Texas has experienced, parts of the state are still suffering the consequences of the drought, and could benefit from implementing long-term strategies like water harvesting. As quoted from “The Texas Floods Are So Big They Ended the States Drought” the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies the desert-like Panhandle, “is covered by a thick clay layer that prevents all but the tiniest percentage of water from filtering down.”

So although the Panhandle had one of its rainiest months in recent history, little of that water will actually replenish the aquifer, leaving cities such as Amarillo looking for water. On-site water reuse can go hand in hand with stormwater strategies designed to reduce the impact of heavy rain events that can overwhelm and pollute local waterways – as was seen this past spring in Texas. Once stormwater has been detained, that volume becomes the source for a water reuse system for months ahead. Detention can also be structured to hold a portion for reuse and infiltrate the remainder to help replenish the local aquifer.

In areas of Texas that still remain dry, implementing water harvesting strategies that do not require rainfall would help to conserve what is already a scarce resource in those areas. Greywater (or gray water) harvesting systems, which have been gaining popularity in California during its recent drought, collect the “gently used” water from showers and sinks. Once sanitized, greywater can be reused for flushing toilets, clothes washing, and even irrigation. Greywater provides a steady and predictable supply of water, unlike rainwater, and helps take pressure off the aquifers and reservoirs.

By integrating water harvesting systems into the infrastructure as the current drought is ending, the state of Texas can begin to prepare for the next drought. Water harvesting is a long-term solution, not a quick fix, so although the current drought may be ending, there’s no better time than the present to remember the lessons of drought and prepare for the future.

Wahaso has worked on hundreds of systems throughout the nation and we pride ourselves on unique solutions for water reuse that can optimize water savings at affordable costs. The first step to see if water harvesting makes sense for your project is to go through our free scoping process. To get started, contact us today.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a rising senior majoring in marketing at Elmhurst College and a Marketing Intern at Wahaso.

Green Summits Bring Technologies and Sustainable Leaders Together

“Green Summits” offer two to three day workshops that bring together companies in the green building industry with decision makers looking for sustainable solutions. Emily Avellana, Marketing Intern at Wahaso, attended last month’s FMA Future Facilities Summit to gain insight on this new trend in the green building industry.

Green building is a relatively new and growing industry, and architects, facility managers and sustainability leaders are not always familiar with the emerging technologies for green building. While trade shows like GreenBuild are a good way to get general exposure to the industry, they can be overwhelming, with thousands attendees attempting to see hundreds of providers and booths. At the opposite extreme, one-on-one “lunch and learns” provide sustainability leaders with more individualized learning and exposure to green building, but are expensive and time intensive. As a middle-ground solution, “Green Summits” offer two to three day workshops that bring together companies in the green building industry with decision makers looking for sustainable solutions. With presentations, one-on-one booth talks, and informal time at dinners and receptions, companies and attendees have multiple chances to connect and build relationships in a lower pressure setting.

This past month, Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions, attended the FMA Future Facilities Summit in Lombard, IL (May 27th – 29th, 2015). Joseph Piazza, president of FMA, gave Marketing Intern Emily Avellana a rundown of the event: the FMA Future Facilities Summit connects solution providers in the operational and energy efficiency industries with executive level decision makers from commercial, institutional, and retail facilities across North America. It provides companies and attendees with the opportunity to build relationships and make connections in a more intimate setting than a traditional trade show or conference. It gives approximately 150 attendees the chance to connect with 30 sellers, and as quoted from the FMA website, the summit’s goal is “bringing companies who have the best solutions for all aspects of the Facility Life Cycle; from pre to new construction, building automation, facility management & energy efficiency, data analytics and renewable technologies- to the right people who need them.”

The summit has a more intimate feel than a traditional trade show or conference, and is significantly less “busy” with a more relaxed feeling. It isn’t a high-pressure selling setting, as trade shows tend to be- it had a much more laid back and low-pressure feel.

Dwayne Kula, first time summit exhibitor and President of Every Watt Matters, noted that he liked the smaller format and felt that his company had “accomplished everything we wanted to in the first night.” The summit’s format was new to Kula, as he usually attends large trade shows in China, so he appreciated the “quaint and personable” feel of the summit and the multiple opportunities to connect with potential customers.

John Bauer, President of Wahaso – Water Harvesting Solutions, who had previously attended an FMA Summit in Atlanta, GA. He expressed that the format was great, and that it’s “important to have multiple days and opportunities to talk and build relationships, especially for complex sells like water harvesting.”

Bauer expressed that the format was much stronger for building relationships than a larger trade show or conference, and that it truly provided “quality time over a period of several encounters.”
Paul Campbell, Director of Sustainability at Sears Holdings Corporation, was present as an attendee and client target for the sponsoring technology companies. When asked about the event, he noted that the format works well and provided a “great opportunity to get exposure to new products and suppliers he would have not otherwise discovered.”

In general, responses to the summit and its format were overwhelmingly positive, from new and previous exhibitors and attendees alike. A similar event and format focused on the retail industry is hosted by Green Retail Decisions in Deerfield, IL. That event will take place June 29th – July 1st, 2015 in Rosemont, IL. As the Green Building industry grows, events like the FMA Future Facilities Summit will likely become more common, finding their place as a welcome middle ground between trade shows and one-on-one visits.

About the Writer: Emily Avellana is a rising senior at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL. She is marketing major with interests in social media marketing and the green building industry.

This post was originally published as a press release on October 21, 2015. View on PRWeb or download the PDF version here.

Economic Benefits of Rainwater Collection

As a property owner who foots the water bill, you may find yourself shocked every time the water bill is due. By installing a water harvesting system in your building to collect rainwater, greywater, or stormwater, you can reduce your bill while also reducing environmental impact. Re-using filtered water from these sources can lead to a noticeable reduction in costs and municipal water use.

For more information, view our services page or contact us today!

Why Should You Consider a Commercial Rainwater Harvesting System for Your Project?

Commercial water harvesting systems are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Canada, and some of the reasons are as follows:

Water resources are stressed in communities throughout the United Sates, and corporations realize that they have an obligation to reduce their impact on the environment and those resources.

Stormwater runoff is a big issue – particularly for commercial projects with large, impermeable rooftops and parking areas. One commercial rainwater harvesting system can prevent tens of thousands of gallons of stormwater run-off every time it rains and help save 2-3 million gallons of municipal water per year.

Reduced usage of municipal water translates into thousands of dollars in water and sewer bills each year for the life of the building, providing a real ROI.

Whether you’re striving to be a more “green” company or you’re searching for long term cost savings, a commercial rainwater harvesting system can help. Systems by Wahaso include commercial-grade filters, sanitation, pressurization and control components assuring water safety and reliability required for commercial buildings with minimal maintenance. Depending on the project location, grants and incentives may be available to offset commercial rainwater harvesting systems. Many communities are now taxing impermeable run-off and a harvesting system can reduce or eliminate those fees.

It’s estimated that 90% or more of the water used by office buildings, schools, shopping centers and other public or commercial properties could be replaced with non-potable water from on-site rainwater harvesting. Wahaso is proud to provide commercial water harvesting systems that can help maximize your water savings and optimize ROI.

If you have questions about how much you can save with a water harvesting system, or if you’re ready to start planning your system today, contact us today to get started on your free analysis!

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