About the Author

Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez is the editor of Distributed Energy and Water Efficiency magazines.

Articles by Laura Sanchez

Puzzling Pipelines

Water

Puzzling Pipelines

The word for “puzzle” in Spanish is rompecabezas—literally, a head breaker. The term serves as an apt description of Mexico City’s hydrologic tangle, a multi-faceted conundrum that exemplifies the global need to make water systems sustainable.

Legend has it that Mexico City was founded in a sacred location. For more than

A Golden Sandwich

Energy

A Golden Sandwich

Gold is an extraordinary element. Its illuminating luster has, throughout history, been associated with prestige and opulence. Homer, in The Illiad and The Odyssey, referred to gold as the “glory of immortals and a sign of wealth among ordinary people.”

Chemically, gold is a transition metal known for its malleability and

Singing in the Shower

Water

Singing in the Shower

Everybody sings in the shower. At least that’s the belief that Susan van Rooyen and Moe Kekana were operating under as they developed a brilliant water-saving campaign in Cape Town, South Africa. And as it turns out, they were right.

As drought conditions became grave in late 2017 and the

Sophisticated Sand

Water

Sophisticated Sand

“The way we treat stormwater, especially in California, is broken,” explains Joseph Charbonnet, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. “We think of it as a pollutant, but we should be thinking about it as a solution.” 

As water flows through urban areas, over rooftops, lawns, and

Green Goals for the Golden State

Energy

Green Goals for the Golden State

California has taken steps on the path to clean energy lately. Last week, the state Assembly passed legislation that would set a target to eliminate carbon emissions from California’s energy generation profile.

If signed into law by Governor Brown, the bill, S.B. 100, creates a clean energy goal, mandating that

Flushed but not Forgotten

Water

Flushed but not Forgotten

Dental floss, wipes, contact lenses, medications, facial tissues… Each of these items may seem innocuous, but in wastewater treatment facilities, they can be highly destructive. When flushed down toilets and into sewer systems, these products can’t be dissolved by conventional methods. Instead, they clog pumps, tangle around mixers, contaminate waterways,

Stacking Blocks

Weekly

Stacking Blocks

The science is simple. Lifting mass against gravity stores energy that can be released when the mass falls. An innovative energy storage system is putting that science to work today with cranes and concrete blocks.

The Energy Vault system, developed by entrepreneur Bill Gross and Swiss inventor Andrea Pedretti, can store

3D Printing a Better Membrane

Water

3D Printing a Better Membrane

About 96% of the Earth’s water can be found in its oceans. As desalination technology becomes increasingly cost-effective and efficient, a growing number of communities around the world are becoming reliant on seawater for survival.

In reverse osmosis, the most common desalination process, water is forced through a membrane that selectively

The Birds and the Bees

Energy

The Birds and the Bees

As a result of increasing environmental stressors and urbanization, bee populations have declined significantly in recent years. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are investigating ways to support pollinator populations by hosting them on solar sites—a solution that also increases land use efficiency.

Bees play