Engineering Sustainable Change
Utah’s per capita domestic water use is one of the highest in the nation. Bad news for Utah but a great opportunity for improvement. Below are three projects where Brendle Group is working to improve water use efficiency and water conservation in Utah.
NSAA and Alta Ski Area
Last fall was an exciting time for Brendle Group with the launch of the Net Zero Water Building Scale Toolkit. Net Zero Water acknowledges that water is a limited resource. It flips water management practices by making decisions based on local conditions rather than historical practices. Water is a regional concern that effects everyone. As part of the Net Zero Water launch and our efforts with the NSAA Climate Challenge, Brendle Group offered consulting services in the form of a grant to Alta Ski Area. Through these efforts, Alta documented the details of their water usage and set informed water conservation goals. This exercise helped identify the need for additional tools and resources that could help ski areas with adaptive management programs for water use and operations. For next season’s climate challenge, NSAA and Brendle Group are adding climate adaptation and Net Zero Water practices, with the goal of providing an avenue for ski areas to actively address and manage their water resources.
Water Energy Nexus: Park City Water
Acknowledging the strong ties between water and energy, Brendle Group is supporting Park City, Utah in the launch of a water and energy conservation program targeting the reduction in the City’s water and energy footprints. It requires tremendous amounts of energy to pump, treat, and deliver water and wastewater, and similarly, tremendous volumes of water to produce electricity. Municipal water supply and wastewater treatment systems are among the most energy-intensive facilities owned and operated by local governments, accounting for about 35% of energy used by municipalities. For small communities, these facilities often comprise, by far, the largest portion of their total energy use. Pioneering localities are beginning to leverage this water-energy nexus to simultaneously reduce water, energy, chemical, and other inputs, while reducing cost and enhancing operations. The program’s primary objective is to reduce the environmental impact of the city’s water system by optimizing operations, capturing inefficiencies, and developing renewable energy. It’s the first program of its kind in Park City. The first phase is already complete, with Brendle Group and partner Hansen, Allen & Luce supporting its development through the end of 2016.
Measurement and Monitoring: Central Wasatch Environmental Dashboard
We always say it’s important to know where you are before you can determine where you want to go. The Environmental Dashboard will be a tool for decision makers to track the Central Wasatch’s environmental health and evaluate impacts in future planning discussions. Through a contract on behalf of Mountain Accord, Brendle Group is leading a consulting team (that includes University of Utah DIGIT Lab, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, and Wild Utah Project) to develop an integrated, accessible dashboard to be used by the region’s stakeholders. The tool will compile data currently collected throughout the Central Wasatch Mountains in a way that provides a picture of the complete health of the mountain range, as well as a mechanism for measuring the health moving forward.
About the Author — Becky supports a wide range of projects at Brendle Group, including greenhouse gas inventories; energy profiles; climate and sustainability planning; water footprinting; and on-site energy, water, and waste assessments. She also has extensive experience as a water resources engineer and is well versed in water operations modeling and large scale water resources planning and design. Additionally, Becky has a comprehensive set of business skills, including project management, triple bottom line analysis, and business plan development.
With an undergraduate degree in civil and environmental engineering, Becky continued her education with a Master of Science degree in Business Administration focusing on global, social, and sustainable enterprise. While completing her graduate work, she founded Running Water International, a social enterprise in Kenya, Africa that addresses the water resource challenges of the developing world. She continues to serve as Technical Director for the organization’s multi-cultural team.