Sustainability and growth – planning for tomorrow

A commodity that most take for granted. Seen by many as worth more than gold, and with most people unaware that this treasure can be right in the room with them... Serge Becker of Aspen Pumps explains more.

As more countries around the world look into smarter ways of urban development and sustainability, we are seeing a significant growth in resource being channelled towards more self-sustaining and ecological construction solutions.

Aspen Pumps’ smallest mini pump on the market for ease of fitting in a mini split AC unit.

At the last count, Asia had a population of 427 billion people, which accounts for over 60% of the world’s population. Although there are still vast amounts of people living and working in rural areas, Asia is now over 40% urban. Providing water, sanitation and other resources is easier for the Government to manage when people live in close proximity to each other and opportunities for sustainable development and energy management are easier to predict and manage.

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the whole concept of eco-cities was generally thought to have been the dream of idealistic people and generally out of reach. However in recent years not only has the dream become the reality, we are seeing more and more countries take up the sustainability baton and try to replicate others success. The ideology behind the construction of these cities follows very simple rules. They must be in line with the cities natural growth, they should encourage more environmentally and socially responsible behaviour and should have a minimal ecological impact when being developed.

Many of these developments follow strict environmentally friendly guidelines when being constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment during build up. To develop a fully functioning Eco City, developers and architects will look at waste management, energy saving initiatives, urban layout, poverty reduction and water recycling. These considerations help to maintain the green infrastructure being created.

Interestingly of all the sustainable practises that the eco city developers take advantage of, water recycling is one of the most overlooked. Although there are sustainable urban drainage systems, rain water harvesting and Xeriscaping (advanced irrigation systems,) a huge source of water recycling potential is overlooked.

“Condensate water generated by air conditioning units is an often overlooked resource when developing sustainable cities. With the right drainage systems and correct pumping methods, it is entirely possible to have sufficient recycled grey water to significantly impact on water recycling.” Serge Becker explained. Sustainable cities are not a new phenomenon in South East Asia. India for example, will be investing more than $10 billion on clean energy in 2015, (according to a recent forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF),) and Singapore will be supporting the Indian State Andhra Pradesh in building a new sustainable capital city at a cost of $16.5bn.

Serge Becker went on to say: “Aspen Pumps is a company who has been at the forefront of air conditioning grey water recycling innovation and it has been providing water condensate removal solutions to the industry for over 20 years. Being able to reuse grey water is imperative to ensuring that Aspen, and other companies involved in this area, work in a way that can only benefit sustainability projects. Aspen offers a range of pumps that will lift the water up and into storage tanks, outside water butts, and other water drainage systems, which means that the water can then be reused and recycled as appropriate.”

Incredibly an average tower block with 150 flats - could recycle up to 22,500 gallons of water per month, which is enough water to fill a 21ft swimming pool! With over 50 million air conditioning units used in China annually, if every one of those units had a condensate water pump fitted, there could be a saving of over 700 trillion gallons of grey water per year.

With more than $1.6 trillion invested in 2013 in energy supply, the focus on energy savings is growing. Eco cities that can house millions of people are on the rise and water – which can be a scarce commodity – will in turn become more valuable. With this in mind, forward thinking governments, architects and engineers will be looking at the recycling opportunities that condensate water presents. This easily accessible source of grey water can be accessed with the right pump, trunking and accessories and the average household will reap huge benefits from water sustainability and economic savings. This means that whatever the country or environment, if there is an air conditioning unit, there is an opportunity to tap a valuable source of recyclable grey water.