Internet of Things helps water companies understand patterns of water usage. We speak to Gillan Taddune, with over 20 years’ experience in the green and clean technology sector, and currently CEO of Banyan Water, an IoT software company that uses real-time data to optimize water cost and risk for enterprise commercial customers, to find out a bit more about how IoT can contribute to tackle the challenges faced by the water sector.
Question: Firstly, we would like to know briefly your career path and your current role in Banyan Water.
Answer: I chose a career in clean tech because I believe that technology is the best way to solve critical environmental resource problems. I started down this path as the Chief Economist for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, where I served as the project lead for the Texas Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and helped pass legislation that created a renewable portfolio standard. After my time at the Public Utility Commission, I spent 10 years on the executive team at Green Mountain Energy Company in numerous roles including Chief Information Officer and Chief Environmental Officer.
I then served as the regional director for the Southern U.S. at EnerNOC, an energy management firm helping consumers reduce energy use and environmental impact. I also served as the vice president of the Southern U.S. for Recyclebank, which previously ranked No.1 on the Wall Street Journal’s list of top venture-based cleantech companies.
Today, I’m the CEO of Banyan Water, the leading provider of total water management software for enterprises. Under my leadership, Banyan has saved more than 3 billion gallons of water for the built environment.
Under my leadership, Banyan has saved more than 3 billion gallons of water for the built environment
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the water sector today?
A: Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues affecting our world. Cities such as Barcelona and New Delhi have experienced their worst droughts to date. According to the World Water Council, dozens of countries, such as the U.S., will face major water shortages in the next 25 years.
There are many contributing factors to growing water scarcity, such as excessive water use, climate change and rapid population growth. One of the most glaring issues though, is water’s massive undervaluation. Water is a finite resource, yet it is one of the cheapest utilities. A gallon of water in the U.S. costs, on average, eight-hundredths of a cent. To put that into perspective, a gallon of whole milk costs $2.28 and a gallon of black paint costs nearly $33. We can’t continue to view and use water as if it is a renewable resource.
Q: How do you think new technologies, including cloud-based software, can contribute to facing these challenges?
A: As water rates continue to rise, infrastructure ages and the global population grows, enterprises must take control of their water usage through total water management technology solutions. Enterprises that invest in IoT- and cloud-based technologies can turn water from a cost into an asset that increases profit margins and ultimately conserves water across portfolios.
One of the most glaring issues is water’s massive undervaluation
Q: How does a company like Banyan Water contribute to smart water management?
A: Banyan’s cloud-based software platform has saved more than 3 billion gallons of water to date for enterprises throughout the U.S. Our customers—which include REITs, large multi-family complexes, schools and more—gain unprecedented insight into how water is being used across their properties.
For example, in 2018, our real-time leak detection, alerting and auto-shut off technology detected and stopped more than 600 leaks, saving an estimated 197 million gallons of water that would have otherwise been wasted. On average, leaks can go undetected for more than 45 days, which can result in a monthly water bill that’s ten-fold that of a normal monthly bill.
Our clients consistently see as much as 70% savings in water usage, and in 2018, Banyan increased our customer asset value by $20 million.
Q: How does data-driven water technology help combat the growing global water crisis?
A: One of the primary contributing factors to our growing water crisis is the lack of visibility into an enterprise’s water usage. Historically, there has never been a way for facility managers to assess how much water is being used or wasted and where.
With data-driven water technology, however, facility and property managers are empowered with accurate, real-time water information to combat poor water usage habits throughout their portfolios. This information gives property managers the insights they need to make better decisions about how water is used across their property.
One of the primary contributing factors to our growing water crisis is the lack of visibility into an enterprise’s water usage
Q: How does smart water management address the new frontier of water management and analysis?
A: We’re experiencing a similar lack of visibility into water usage that the energy sector experienced in its earliest days: Enterprises are generally unaware or uninformed about their resource usage. For many property owners, it’s not uncommon to see an unusually high water bill and to have no explanation as to why or how so much water was used in a given month.
However, smart water management addresses that lack of transparency head on, evolving how facility managers track, address and transform their water usage. IoT-based total water management software grants us unprecedented access and visibility into how water is being used for indoor and outdoor irrigation, in cooling towers and more.
Q: Finally, what do you think is the future of smart water technology?
A: Global adoption of data-driven water conservation technology must happen now. Smart water technology is quickly moving from a conversation solely about sustainability to one focused on profitability and risk management. Our vision for the future of water management bridges the two.
Interest and investment in water management technologies is already picking up steam and will continue to increase as enterprises, cities and entire countries face additional challenges with water scarcity. Banyan’s vision is to play a major role in the market-wide adoption of IoT-enabled water conservation at the enterprise level. We believe that adoption will reach critical mass and create the opportunity for a smart water grid, where connected companies and cities around the world collect and share data to combat global water scarcity together.