Welcome to Culver Water Currents—your monthly e-source for industry news and product information, including the latest educational and promotional items, trends, tips, stories, and events.
This month, learn about the impact floating solar is having on water conservation and, with Drinking-Water Week approaching, a selection of product solutions to support your conservation education efforts.
Culver Company’s Products Group can help you select or create the right educational and promotional products for your outreach efforts. Be sure to check out Culver Water Currents each month for your industry product news.
Energy and water have always had a reciprocal relationship. Water is needed to produce and distribute energy, and energy is needed to treat, pump, and distribute water. However, an emerging trend in solar energy is having more of an effect on water conservation than one might originally expect.
“Flotovoltaics,” or floating solar, combines solar panels and water in an innovative way—by floating solar installations on open bodies of water from wastewater ponds to reservoirs and lakes. More and more installations are proving that this kind of application can provide significant water and money savings for utilities.
The panels help to reduce water evaporation, critical in drought-prone areas, like California, Arizona, and much of the Southeast, and the water keeps the solar panels cool, boosting their efficiency and longevity. Ironically, solar panels do not operate at high temperature. It is estimated that floating solar panels are about 57 percent more efficient than those on land.
In addition to their ability to conserve water and promote the efficient creation of renewable energy, these types of installations can also aid in limiting algae blooms, which block sunlight and affect plant growth in the water. Toxins from algae blooms can also emit toxins that are harmful to aquatic life, other animals, and even humans.
Although this type of technology continues to evolve, it is gaining a foothold in wastewater plants and other businesses around the world. For a wastewater treatment plants in particular, a floating solar array can create a dual benefit by contributing electricity to the plant’s power needs while simultaneously reducing the utility’s energy costs. Additionally, they are an attractive option for areas where land is expensive or densely populated.
A $12-million floating solar array in Sayreville, New Jersey, was completed last year, and it produces more than four million kWh annually for the Bordentown Avenue Water Treatment Plant. The goal for this project is to produce all of the electricity for the plant, resulting in a “net-zero” facility. Local high schools and colleges are also using this innovative system as a teaching opportunity, working with project managers to educate students about renewable energy.
A plant in Millburn, New Jersey, installed a floating solar panel system at the Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant in 2011. It was the first system of its kind on the East Coast. The project generates approximately two percent of the plant’s power, saving around $16,000 a year.
While a natural fit for waste water plants, California and its Wine Country have been early adopters of floating solar. Both Napa and Sonoma have installations. The Far Niente Winery in Oakville, California, installed a floating system that reduces evaporation from the waterway by 70 percent and generates enough electricity to run the winery. Sonoma’s project was built to generate power for 3,000 homes.
Other projects are underway in Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India. A floating solar plant at the Yamakura Dam (near Tokyo) is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 5,000 households while reducing annual carbon emissions by more than 8,000 tons.
With Drinking-Water Week approaching (May 7–13, 2017), it’s the perfect time to promote your water conservation message. Community events are a great way to get families involved in water conservation. Educational support at community events demonstrates your commitment to the preservation of our Earth’s most precious resource, water. You’ll also create goodwill, improve customer satisfaction, and build your brand.
The right educational materials, paired with fun promotional items, will engage children and families in a way that transforms learning into lifelong behaviors. Take a look at some of our best-selling items to tell your story and consider adding a promotional item. Research proves that when you do, individuals are more likely to remember your company’s name and message with the added benefit of becoming water conservation activists.
Top-Selling Educational Materials:
Our World of Water Activity Booklet (#35550):
Water and Your World (#37130):
Be a Water Saver! Coloring Booklet (#37820):
Grades pre-K to 2
Learn About Water Conservation (#85865):
Water Conservation Brochure (#43040):
Use Water Wisely Value Kit (#86240):
Multiple conservation materials in a biodegradable bag
This month, give residents the tools to create lasting behavior changes in the garden. As people head outside to begin planting, think about ways you can teach them about draught-tolerant plants and efficient watering practices. During your Water Week events, create gift baskets that include a selection of low-maintenance flower seeds, a low-flow hose nozzle, and a lawn and garden hose timer. Each of these items will encourage residents to think about what they plant and how they water their gardens. Valuable and practical tools will create long-term behavior change and remind your customers of your commitment to the community and water conservation.
We know how busy people are these days and understand that sometimes, things just slip from the priority list. Do you have a Drinking Water Week event approaching, and you still need outreach materials? We’re here to help make things easier for you as you prepare for your upcoming community events. Culver offers a number of products that can be ordered with shorter lead times. Give our product experts a call for recommendations.