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Innovative EcoCloud™ Helps Silicon Valley Companies Adopt Sustainable Practices
Eric Rosenblum,1 Martina Davis,1 Marianna Grossman,2 Drew Clark,3 Jim Davis4 and Jeff Risberg2 1 City of San José, South Bay Water Recycling 3025 Tuers Road, San José, CA 95121 2 Sustainable Silicon Valley, 900 Lafayette Street, Suite 100, Santa Clara, CA 95050 3 IBM, Venture Capital Group, 2929 Campus Drive, Suite 275, San Mateo, CA 94403 4 SAP, Sustainability, Energy & Carbon Impact, 3410 Hillview Ave, Building 1 Palo Alto, CA 94304-1395 ABSTRACT South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) is a regional recycled water distribution system serving industrial and commercial customers in the area of northern California (USA) known as “Silicon Valley.” In early 2008 the City of San José, as administering agency of the San José/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, implemented a Cooling Tower Initiative to encourage recycled water use by commercial and industrial facilities. In 2009, Sustainable Silicon Valley, a non-profit organization dedicated to a sustainable future, convened a meeting of utilities, high-tech and academics to discuss how local stakeholders might collaborate to improve the sustainable use of water in Silicon Valley. Out of these discussions emerged the concept of the EcoCloud™ , a coalition of private companies, public utilities, environmental organizations and academic researchers who encourage each other to adopt sustainable practices, supported by the latest social networking and data analysis tools. While the initial focus of the EcoCloud™ is to help industrial facilities use water sustainably—especially by using recycled water for cooling—its long-term goal is to support all aspects of sustainability, including energy reduction, materials management and land use. The EcoCloud™ allowed the City of San José to move from a serial marketing to a group marketing model, reaching more potential customers and connecting more facilities to the recycled water system. Inspired by the concept of industrial ecology, the EcoCloud™ is designed to be a “virtual” industrial ecosystem where industry, government and educational institutions can work together to share information about all aspects of sustainability. Although industries in the EcoCloud™ are not located next to each other, they share a common interest in reducing energy usage, conserving resources, eliminating waste, and cutting costs to improve their bottom line. Just as “cloud computing” uses the distributed power of the internet for more efficient data processing, the EcoCloud™ harnesses the power of web-based social networking tools so local business leaders and facility managers can work with industry experts, technology innovators, university researchers and government agencies to make their enterprises more sustainable and more profitable.

1. A NEW PARADIGM FOR INDUSTRIAL COLLABORATION As conceived and developed by Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV), the EcoCloud™ is a coalition of private companies, public utilities, environmental organizations and academic researchers who encourage each other to adopt sustainable practices. While its first focus has been the use of recycled water for cooling by industrial and commercial buildings, the EcoCloud’s™ ultimate goal is to stimulate sustainable industrial practices in all areas, including water, energy, materials and land use. To support these practices the EcoCloud™ provides technology transfer in a variety of media including face-to-face public meetings, special seminars and a new website (now under construction) powered by the latest social networking tools. In these venues, even rival industries are able to work together to share ecologically appropriate business practices, cooperating to create a more sustainable community. South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) is a regional recycled water distribution system serving industrial and commercial customers in the area of northern California (USA) known as “Silicon Valley.”1 The first 60-mile phase of the pipeline system was designed and constructed between 1993 and 1998 at a cost of $140 million as a means of reducing the discharge of highly treated effluent from the San José/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant into the south end of San Francisco Bay. Volume 3 · Number 1 · 2011

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