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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » March 3, 2014
The Real Estate Voice
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Saving Water, Saving Money
March 3, 2014   
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Sebastian Jacob, International Sales Manager at GreenLife, a German company that specializes in decentralized water management, talks to the Voice.

What kind of solutions can GreenLife propose for the Polish real estate market?
Out of the GreenLife product/solution portfolio, we are able to construct different and combined water management systems for each building. We typically start by examining the figures, like water demands, and the possibilities on site for rainwater harvesting.

The range of GreenLife underground tanks starts at 700 liters and ends at 47,000 liters. We are also able to supply optimum-sized filtration units and pumping equipment, including a hybrid management system.

Another option, which can be operated in combination with rainwater harvesting, is “greywater” recycling, which collects and treats waste water from showers, bathtubs, sinks and the like, and transforms it into water which can be used for toilet flushing, cleaning purposes, garden irrigation and laundry.

All GreenLife layouts are worked out with detailed information about the finished product, including CAD drawings in different file formats, in order to include the solution directly into the project drawings of the architect/planner.

What are the main stages of the greywater recycling process?
The greywater recycling process is based on four main stages. The first three of these stages are the actual treatment process:
1. Sedimentation
2. Aeration/Biological treatment
3. Ultrafiltration
4. Service water storage.
After these stages, we achieve the best possible balance between system size and the frequency of maintenance demands. GreenLife has nearly 10 years of experience in greywater recycling.

Is it possible to combine this with rainwater harvesting in the same building?
A combination of both technologies often makes sense, for example in an office tower with small roof areas and less greywater access from hand washbasins. In our various layout options, we are able to show the client the best possible technical solution and at the same time the most economical solution. Via an LCC (Life Cycle Costing) analysis, we are able to show the real cost of each project, including all additional costs like energy and servicing, and the break-even point.

Ecology is important, but what are the financial benefits for the investor?
The LCC analysis shows the break-even point of investment into “green technology” and also when the investor can count on making a profit from investing in alternative solutions.

In our various international projects around the world we focus on finding and developing new technologies which are easier to implement in the situation on each market.

In what kinds of buildings can you implement decentralized water management systems?
GreenLife can provide solutions for nearly all types of buildings, starting from private family houses up to commercial buildings.

Sometimes the bigger projects have bigger problems that have to be solved – and GreenLife is able to solve them.

Last year we started to equip an old castle with GreenLife technology in Kyffhaeuser in Germany. It is located far from water mains. The GreenLife solution cost less than 20 percent of what would have been the cost of hooking up to the mains water supply.

Currently we are working on a pioneering project to build a city district that will be inhabited by 8,000 people and that will be self-sufficient in terms of energy and water.

How many projects have you already completed in Europe?
European markets are our key markets and we aim to deliver various water management systems. This means we can offer solutions for hotels, youth hostels, sport complexes, shopping malls, residential houses/apartment blocks, logistics parks, production companies, remote holiday houses, schools and kindergartens, hospitals, tourist buildings, and so on.

We have completed about 180-200 bigger projects in Europe. Aside from Germany, our main markets are in southern Europe, Austria and Switzerland.

What opportunities do you see for your company in Poland?
Poland is a growing market and more real estate projects are being built here than in any other country in Europe. Now is the time to offer GreenLife possibilities on the Polish market. The demand is there and water prices have been increasing for years, so decentralized water management can be a real option (with short pay-back times) for nearly every project.

The GreenLife product portfolio will increase in 2014 and further development is scheduled for the coming years. We invested in the past into the latest plastic processing machinery and have our own product development department, including research and development.

But we do realize water saving is not limited to grey and rain water. It is very important to reduce water consumption in buildings by using environmentally-friendly products. We have very good experience with some producers who offer such products, such as Villeroy&Boch. Cooperation between our companies and the combination of our water-saving products brings benefits to investors and developers.

The development of ecological water solutions is an important goal for us, and GreenLife is involved in the creation of a European MSc. degree in Ecological and Sustainable Tourism Management. GreenLife is working out the content for teaching modules in water technologies and Green Building certification.

GreenLife GmbH, a company based in Schwerin, northern Germany, is one of the leading experts on decentralized water management in Europe. The sensible use of natural resources is the key issue for this German manufacturer, which has an extensive range of products, patents and property rights.

This family company specializes in developing, manufacturing and servicing innovative and high-quality water management systems for single and multiple family dwellings, commercial buildings, hotels and offices. GreenLife works closely with architects and planning offices and supports decentralized water management as an ecologically and economically sensible alternative throughout Europe.

Water management is growing in importance and markets are becoming more global. Currently GreenLife is working on projects in Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Brazil and many other countries – and of course in Poland.

GreenLife can offer a complete, self-sufficient water management solution – without a mains water connection – such as the one installed in the GreenLife headquarters in Schwerin. The combination of rainwater harvesting, treatment to provide drinking water (GreenLife AQa), greywater recycling and waste water treatment ensures the security of the water supply in each case, including all drinking water demands (the kitchen, shower, etc.), a fire-fighting water reservoir, machine cooling in plastic processing production and green area irrigation. The roofs of the production plants and the office building are connected to underground tanks, which have a total volume of about 225,000 liters.

GreenLife’s competence is backed by 30 years of experience in plastics processing and plastic product sales.
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