Smart Surface Technologies Could Save DC $5 Billion

A recent study says that smart surface technologies could save Washington, D.C. $5 billion over 40 years. The report,  Achieving Urban Resilience: Washington, D.C., authored by Capital E, documents and quantifies the large-scale environmental, health and economic benefits that smart surface technologies could provide. “How cities manage the sunlight and rain that falls on them has a huge impact on inhabitants’ health and quality of life,” the report begins. “But city leaders and planners generally do not manage or even…

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Artificial Turf Is The New Green Landscaping

Artificial turf isn’t just for mini golf and football stadiums anymore! It has become the go-to product for homeowners suffering through drought or trying to reduce their water consumption. Tanner Shepard, owner of LawnPop, an Austin, TX turf installation company, says that their brand has been growing at a rapid pace. “Synthetic grass was a great option to help conserve water during the drought,” Shepard said. “Turf is very versatile, and people are getting more creative when it comes to…

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Nano Membrane Toilet Turns Waste Into Clean Power

In the news of the weird in green technology, this product has to be out there! Cranfield University in the UK has developed a toilet, called the nano membrane toilet, that produces clean energy and clean water as by-products of human waste. Here is how Gizmodo describes the “waste processing:” The toilet’s magic happens when you close the lid. The bottom of the bowl uses a rotation mechanism to sweep the waste into a sedimentation chamber, which helps block any…

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Greenhouse with legs

Try This Greenhouse With Legs For Flood Control

For those having a proclivity for flooding paranoia, this greenhouse with legs might arrest some of those fears. Conceived and developed by BAT Studio, we are told this UK structure has been constructed in an area which experiences frequent flooding. The Greenhouse That Grows Legs incorporates a novel approach to flood protection. “The building is fabricated on a bespoke steel frame with four hydraulic legs, capable of lifting the building 800 mm from the ground on command.” The story of…

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Permeable concrete system gulps water

Permeable Concrete System Gulps Water Without Puddles

In a video that has gone viral, at least in the construction industry, Lafarge Tarmac vividly demonstrates the capabilities of its Topmix Permeable Concrete system to absorb large quantities of water in a short amount of time.  According to the video, a parking lot constructed of Topmix is able to absorb 4,000 liters of water in less than a minute, with no puddles! The Topmix system is exactly that, a system.  It starts with a layer of permeable concrete, followed…

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Rain tunnel technology provides drinking water from air

Rain Tunnel Technology Provides Drinking Water from Air

New technology from Bangalore promises clean drinking water by drawing moisture from the air.  Rain Tunnel Technology, invented by Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar, Chief Scientific Officer at the De Scalene Research Organization, will soon be available for both commercial and household use. Getting water from the atmosphere is not new. It has been around for more than 500 years but has never been really successful. All the techniques used up until now were based on condensing the air to extract the…

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Mushrooms Hold Key to Stormwater Treatment

Mycoremediation, the use of fungi to treat water and soil, could be the stormwater filter of the present and future.  A couple of projects in Portland, Oregon are putting the science to the test. According to Wikipedia, “one of the primary roles of fungi in the ecosystem is decomposition, which is performed by the mycelium. The mycelium secretes extracellular enzymes and acids that break down lignin and cellulose, the two main building blocks of plant fiber… The key to mycoremediation…

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Drought-stricken California

Program Offers Water Saving Help for Drought-Stricken Californians

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown issued the first-ever mandatory water reduction order in the history of the State of California.  The executive order directed the State Water Resources Control Board to impose a 25 percent reduction on the state’s 400 local water supply agencies, which serve 90 percent of California residents, over the coming year. Homeowners and business owners will be the ones who ultimately must make the sacrifice, but there is financial assistance available to help pay for water…

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Bullitt Center in Seattle

Net Zero Case Study: Bullitt Center — Water

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, is one of the most self-sufficient buildings on the planet. It is net zero energy and, after the water reuse system is approved by city authorities, net zero water. Net zero means that the building uses the same amount as it creates or generates – it is self-sufficient. In a series of posts here on GBE, we will look at what makes this building tick. Rainwater Catchment System Rainwater falling on the PV panel…

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water efficiency

What Is LEED? – Water Efficiency

This is the fourth post in a series on the LEED green building rating system.  The first post provided an Introduction to LEED, the second looked at the Sustainable Sites credit category, and the third at the Location and Transportation credits. Water Efficiency Fresh, drinkable water is a precious commodity that is only available in a limited supply.  Therefore, prudent use and treatment of waste water are very important as we look to expand our built environment and shrink natural treatment areas.  Credits…

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Cambridge, Mass., Passes Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

This news today on a new energy benchmarking ordinance in Cambridge comes from the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). Large commercial, institutional, multifamily, and municipal buildings must track and report their energy and water use. The City Council of Cambridge, Mass., voted unanimously on Monday to approve the Building Energy Usage and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO), requiring the  benchmarking and disclosure of building energy performance for large commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings. In passing the ordinance, Cambridge joins its neighbor, Boston,…

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Ecoflo Coco Filter

Ecoflo Coco Filter Provides Natural Wastewater Treatment System

Premier Tech Aqua (PTA), a Business Unit of the Environmental Technologies Group of Premier Tech, announced earlier this month that it had achieved a breakthrough and launched its recently NSF International certified Ecoflo Coco Filter. The new Ecoflo Coco Filter is a model of sustainable development – a permanent septic installation that fully protects ecosystems using a filtering media mindful of its impact on the environment and the prosperity of future generations. The system is based on an innovative, 100%…

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Water Management Advance Saves Dollars and Water

Hydros is a water advance using water-smart technology from Simple Elements is worth investigation by those who are in the market. Hydros is just an intelligent irrigation controller born to make your life simpler, your grass healthier, and your wallet fuller.  Existing irrigation systems are as basic as a light switch with on and off functions and no add-ons or functionalities that help the ecosystem, the earth or you. Hydros breaks all the necessary components required for your lawn to be healthy,…

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Ford Reduces Water Usage Enough For 1 Billion Showers

As water scarcity is reported around the world, some large organizations have tried to reduce their environmental footprint by conserving water. In some regions wasting water means someone else will have to do without. To address this growing problem and save some money to boot, Ford Motor Company has initiated a water conservation effort at its facilities globally. This has resulted in a water usage reduction of 61 percent (10 billion gallons), which is equivalent to 1 billion 5-minute showers. Overall, the…

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Books of Note: The Wastewater Gardener – Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time

“As ecologists say, everything is connected to everything, and how we manage and mismanage our shit, is a crucial part of the global challenge of our times,” writes Mark Nelson, author of The Wastewater Gardener. Since we at Green Building Elements write considerably about water, waste, and   Nelson brings a considerable background to the table. He is an ecosystem engineer and researcher, and one of the original “Biospherians.” Holder of PhD, he is chairman, CEO, and a founding director…

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7 Principles of Water Conscious Landscaping

If you are still working on getting your yard in shape, here are some techniques for water conscious landscaping. Xeriscaping is the art/science of landscaping with reduced need for irrigation.  It offers several benefits, besides just saving water.  It requires less maintenance, reduces the need for chemicals and fertilizers, increases property value, reduces air pollution, and provides wildlife habitat.  It focuses on drought-tolerant and native plant species, with limited grass turf areas. 1. Design for water conservation. Landscape design is…

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Bacardi Enhances The Efficiency Of Its Rum Facility

Bacardi, a wine company based in Puerto Rico, has been building its reputation for sustainability since 2006. Last year, it announced that it significantly reduced its water and energy usage. It is now taking the next step towards sustainability with the installation of solar skylights, which are intelligently designed ‘windows’ that allow plenty of sunlight into the rum warehouse, helping to keep it warm and nicely lit during winter, reducing heating demand, and the need for electric lighting. In addition to…

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Water-Saving Toilet Invention: Tap-n-Flush

Water-saving toilet controller manages water used per-flush without installing a new toilet This innovative dual-flush toilet product, the Tap-n-Flush, was released February 15 by Hawaii-based company, Prodius. We have written about water-saving toilets in the past but none to date are quite as simple to use or inexpensive.  I first heard about this low-priced dual-flush product from publisher Scott Cooney. My interest in this device increased when I heard about its ability to save water without having to incur the…

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