Monthly Archives: July 2012
The Huffington Post June 27, 2012 With a population expected to exceed nine billion by mid-century and a fixed water supply, the world’s demand for water is quickly outpacing its supply. We rely on steady seasonal rainfall to restore our ground water sources, but droughts are becoming more frequent, often forcing communities to enforce stringent water restrictions. Nearly half of the world’s 6 billion people live in water stressed areas. Eighty countries already have water shortages, and the World Bank warns that the demand for water doubles every 21 years. Thirty countries already get more than one-third of their water from other regions. And treating the water we do have to make it safe for consumption requires great amounts of energy and generates as much carbon emissions as a passenger jet. Growing the food we eat consumes 70 percent of our freshwater supply. And much of the remaining amount is used extravagantly at home. A family of four typically uses 260 gallons of water a day, mostly in the bathroom. Flushing toilets, using faucets, and taking showers or baths account for 75 percent of the total. At the Desert Mountain golf community, we are partnering with the City of Scottsdale and the State of Arizona to utilize treated effluent, or reclaimed water, to reduce our water footprint. To further reduce our footprint, we are using a deeper level of analytic insight that also saves energy and cuts operating costs. More importantly, everything that’s done at Desert Mountain is done with the indigenous plant life and wildlife of the community in mind. For many years now, Arizona has been in a drought. In fact, we’re supposed to average 12 inches of rain annually, but we haven’t had that amount in many years. So at Desert Mountain we’re implementing a water conservation program that will help us become even more efficient and better prepared to meet water shortages and environmental changes. The information we collect from underneath the ground and from weather stations helps us make better decisions on how much watering to do. The less water we use, the more energy and costs we save on treating and transporting water. We are not only making our business more efficient, but we are also playing a role in conserving a precious natural resource. To date, we’ve saved eight to 10 million gallons of water by understanding the data we’re getting from the sensors in the ground that tells us when moisture levels are low or when there is water leak. And we can react faster to that leak. If you look at the people who live here, you’ll see that Desert Mountain is a community of leaders. We are taking a proactive stance to become better stewards of the land and in becoming educators on the role we all can play in protecting our natural resources. That’s the goal we’ve set for ourselves going into the future.
TECH TARGET July 6, 2012 By Wendy Schuchart, Site Editor Any CIO eager to build an eco-friendly company usually is very focused on creating new ways to conserve electricity, be it through data center cooling or working with a facilities management system to optimize energy use throughout the day. If a business involves lush, verdant expanses of thirsty grass in the middle of the Arizona desert, however, water conservation is one of its business leaders’ primary concerns. How does that involve the CIO? It doesn’t — until it does. Part of the problem with that ever-plaguing issue of aligning IT with the business is the stereotype that IT exists in a vacuum. Smart CIOs know that isn’t true, but it’s up to them to prove it to the rest of the business. The trick is in showing business leaders that CIOs have a role to play in areas of the business where technology doesn’t seem like it belongs. Like, for instance, using advanced business analytics tools to water the grass. With 70% of the world’s clean water being used to grow food, playing golf on a green course might seem counterintuitive to saving on water. At the Desert Mountain golf community in Scottsdale, Ariz., water depletion wasn’t just an environmental concern. It also was costing them business. “I am tasked every year with a zero-based budget of how to do more with less,” said Bob Jones, Desert Mountain’s chief operating officer. “Our highest vendor paid is the water bill. How could we push our vendors to control it better? How can we conserve water?” To manage the efficiency of Desert Mountain’s water use, Jones made a sustainable investment in simple, wireless sports turf sensors from UgMO Technologies. “Since 1998, all golf courses had to get off city water and use reclaimed water — water from sewers and runoff, that kind of thing. But you’re repurchasing that from the city. And that’s a cost,” he said. “We connected the sensors, which are just a probe that goes into the ground and says, ‘I’m wet’ or ‘I’m dry’ or ‘I’m thirsty.’” Anyone can say they’re saving, and they really aren’t. We’re not overusing. We’re just using what’s required. It’s opening our minds to different approaches. Even with combining the wireless sensors with another vendor’s smart irrigation-facilities management system, Jones still relied on manual intervention to read water depletion information from the system and manipulate the equipment. Because a golf community runs a bit like a small city, he utilized a municipal water-treatment program from Microcom Designs, then implemented IBM Intelligent Operations Center software to manage interoperability and data analytics. In leveraging IT to align with business objectives, Jones reduced water use by 10 million gallons annually. Great for the environment, absolutely, but his efforts also made a huge impact on the bottom line, to the tune of $120,000 in water savings every year. “We’re seeing a 10% reduction in what we’re buying, and then we conserve electricity for water pumping,” he said. And with the facilities management system reducing the need for manual intervention, Jones saw opportunities for sustainable investment in other areas of the eco-friendly company as well. “We’re also reducing labor. If you overwater [the grass], people drive their carts through it and rut it up. You’ve got more mud because of too much water; and someone has to go out and repair it, analyze it, mow it, touch it — all these things come into play,” Jones said. “We’re coming to understand that there’s a labor component that could be as much as 30% to 40%.” More on being an eco-friendly company Renewable energy sources scarce, but there’s plenty of energy to save IT leader effects transformational change for smart grid energy Maintaining a green lawn is hardly the purview of your average midmarket CIO, but saving money is always on the table. With water depletion a real concern for everyone, CIOs should consider a sustainable investment to conserve electricity and water as part of their efforts to align IT with the business. With Jones reframing the typical eco-friendly company mind-set toward real business savings, the potential for CIO involvement is limitless. It all starts by asking simple questions like “How can we conserve water?” “Anyone can say they’re saving, and they really aren’t.” Jones said. “We’re not overusing. We’re just using what’s required. We’re on the verge of unlocking the potential savings, and there’s stuff we’re finding out every day that we hadn’t really thought about. It’s opening our minds to think through different approaches.” Let us know what you think about the story; email Wendy Schuchart, Site Editor. For midmarket IT news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ciomidmarket.
Golf Course Industry July 2012 – It was six weeks ago that the agronomy team at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., realized that the pricing on our commodities – reclaimed water, fertilizer, seed – was on the rise. That’s always cause for concern for any club but especially so at Desert Mountain with six Jack Nicklaus Signature courses on 550 acres of turf. Comprised of six turf types, the courses accommodate 150,000 rounds of golf annually.