Revamped Thialf Ice Arena wins Design Award

A project to rejuvenate the Thialf Ice Arena in Heerenveen in the Netherlands has been awarded the German Design Award by the German Design Council. The revamp project was designed by ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects and Day Creative Business Partners. The new appearance of the arena itself was worked on by ZJA, while Day created the overall vision for all spaces included in the project.

A pair of glass ‘arms’ are designed, according to the architects, to “embrace the stream of visitors,” while an interior promenade connects the various elements of the facility. Serving points and public meeting points connect with the promenade, while a glass wall has been designed to increase the interaction between athletes and the public.

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Water Charge Increases Cause School Districts to Consider Going Waterless

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Starting October 2017, people living in San Lorenzo Valley, southeast of San Francisco, will be paying far more for water.  The local water district has revamped its tiered charges, where property owners essentially paid for water based on their usage, to a flat rate, which will continue to go up year after year for at least five years.

So, this means that a homeowner, currently paying $65 per month, the average residential water bill in the Valley, will see their bill increase by 37 percent, approaching $90 per month.  By 2021, that statement will go up to $110 per month.

According to the water district, the increase is necessary to fund long-overdue infrastructure improvements.  This is happening in water districts all over the country. This means we can expect many more home and building owners will also see their water and sewer related charges take a big monthly jump.

As you can imagine, this rate increase in San Lorenzo Valley was not welcome news. Nor is it or will it be in other areas of the country when they find out their charges are also going up.  In the Valley, more than 3,000 people wrote protest letters.  “A number of individuals for justifiable reasons opposed the rate increase because they are on fixed incomes,” said Brian Lee with the local water agency. “Seniors come to mind first, and we recognize this is going to be a burden.”

But seniors are certainly not the only ones protesting.  The San Lorenzo Valley School District expects to pay more than $60,000 in increased charges starting in 2018, equivalent to an average teacher’s salary.  The school district is upset because unlike business owners and landlords, they cannot pass on these charges to anyone else.  In other words, it comes right out of the district’s operating expenses, leaving a big dent.

However, there is a bright side to this story, at least for the school district. They are now looking into a variety of ways to reduce water consumption, and one that is on top of their list is to transfer from water using to no-water urinals, better known as waterless urinals.

There are a number of reasons to consider installing waterless urinals, especially for a school district. First of all, the flush handles on water using urinals get a lot of abuse in public schools. Flush handle abuse often means the urinal keeps releasing water or releases too much water per flush, which is wasteful and costly.

Along with abuse, flush handles are often vandalized. Why they are such a favorite target, no one knows. But for school administrators, urinal vandalism along with damage flush handles not only may result in costly water being wasted, invariably the flush mechanisms must be repaired or replaced, which can also be expensive.

But here is the big reason the school district is likely considering installing waterless urinals. Each urinal can save more than 30,000 gallons of water per year.  Let’s say one Valley public school has ten waterless urinals installed.  That means more than 300,000 gallons of water can be saved. 

Very often, just by installing waterless urinals, water use reduction goals are met so that few other water reduction strategies are necessary.  This means water and cost savings are all possible, just by going waterless.

For more information on waterless urinals, contact a Waterless Co representative at 800 244 6364.

Surprising Facts About Urinals

old flushed urinals waterless urinal

Urinals are not something we think about very often - women, probably never - but the truth is that urinals have a long and storied history and women have played a role in its evolution.
"For instance, it is believed that a woman actually invented the first urinal during the civil war," says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co, Inc. "However, in the 1800's women could not register a patent, so Andrew Rankin followed her and was awarded the first urinal patent in 1886."
Reichardt lists some other surprising urinal facts such as the following:
 • The oldest waterless urinal was found a few years back in Sri Lanka. The urinal dates back to the 9th century.
 • The U.S. industrial revolution made urinals famous. Factories hired hundreds of men, which meant large areas of the factory floor had to be designated for restrooms. By installing urinals, less restroom space was necessary.

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