Arup Thoughts: Reduce your building's demand on water supplies

In many countries of the world, there is increasing demand placed on existing water supplies. As well as developing new supplies of water, there is much we can do to reduce the demand placed on our existing supplies.

05/07/2014


Courtesy: ArupDespite the vital role water supplies play in effective sanitation, the toilet hasn’t fundamentally changed since the Victorian era. In the UK, for example, toilet flushing accounts for around 30% of household water use.

So imagine a system that combines ultra-efficient toilet designs with harvested rainwater and recycled water for flushing. Rather than relying on the mains water supply, this could be water sourced from community-scale networks. Just as distributed energy taps into local sources of heat or electricity, water reuse networks would tap into suitable sources of rainwater and treated wastewater and match them to demand for flushing and other purposes such as irrigation. You could flush your toilet with water piped from the local leisure centre, for example – saving both potable water and the energy used to treat it.

I think this approach could help safeguard the world’s valuable water resources and such a decentralized system could make it possible to supply remote communities and growing developing-world cities.

Like many good innovations it’s an evolution, not a revolution. It would complement, rather than replace, existing water supply and wastewater infrastructure. But it would provide opportunities to save water, energy, and money. It could even give traditional water utility companies the opportunity to develop networks outside their geographic areas and provide opportunities for new entrants in the water supply market.

The first step is assessing whether a proposed water reuse network (WReN) is viable, and Arup is working with University College London and other institutions on a tool to do this. However, finding non-potable water for flushing is only half the challenge; we also need a step change in toilet design.

Twenty-five years ago, toilets used up to nine litres of water to flush. Today’s dual flush toilets use six and four, with the option of a long or short flush. Arup is working with the inventor of an innovative toilet that uses a maximum of 1.5 litres per flush, thanks to air assistance. We’ve devised a universal connector so that it can be fitted to existing drainage systems and we’ve already installed a couple in our London offices to investigate their performance, especially the ability to convey waste through the drainage system effectively.

Reducing water use for toilet flushing may be a comparatively low priority in areas where water is relatively abundant. However, it will be vital for cities in Africa and Asia that are expected to experience rapid population growth. According to Water Aid, there are currently 2.5 billion people without a toilet. I think the combination of ultra-efficient toilets and water reuse networks could help reduce that depressing statistic.

Martin Shouler is Arup's global skills leader for Environmental Services Engineering. This article originally appeared on Arup Thoughts. Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, associate content manager, CFE Media, jdmaahs[at]cfemedia.com.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me