Roskilde: Smart savings to provide better showers

Friday 30 Jun 17

The team behind ‘Save water smarter’

Josefine Strandgaard, an MSc student on the Design & Innovation programme.

Niklas Heiberg Buhl, a BEng student on the IT Electronics programme.

Peter Nørtoft, CEO of Aqubiq.

Facts about Aqubiq

Aqubiq is testing its solution in collaboration with the utility Faxe Forsyning and DTU through pilot projects in two Danish cities: Haslev and Lyngby. Learn more about Aqubic .
A start-up and two DTU students measure how and when the festival’s food stalls and visitors use water. The aim is water-saving solutions.

Many festival-goers know the scenario: You are number one in the queue for the hot shower and are really looking forward to a shower on full blast. But the water pressure is low, and you are showering in drops instead of streams of water. A project team of DTU students are currently working on solving this problem.

Roskilde’s public water pipes are not dimensioned to supply a pop-up town of 130,000 people, so Roskilde Festival has long been looking for water conservation methods for food stalls, showers, and toilets.
That is why the festival immediately accepted, when CEO Peter Nørtoft from the DTU start-up Aqubiq and two engineering students offered to conducts measurements for finding new methods for water conservation. ‘Save water smarter’, they call the project.

“We have installed meters on two of the hot showers, each with 12 showers, and in four food stalls. In addition to measuring water consumption, we can also see when water is used and map peak load periods and other consumption patterns. Thanks to this information, we can come up with suggestions for how the festival should plan its water supply in future,” says Josefine Strandgaard, one of the two DTU students.

Real-time results on your tablet
The measurements are performed using a smart water sensor developed by the start-up Aqubiq. Peter Nørtoft got the idea for the sensor when he was working as an assistant professor at DTU. In 2016, he and and a couple of DTU colleagues founded the company, which now develops and markets the equipment.

"Perhaps the festival should—to a larger extent—provide machines and taps, which use less water. "
Peter Nørtoft, CEO, Aqubic

The sensor is fitted with a reader head mounted on top of the water meter, where it collects data on the water flow in the pipe as often as every four seconds.

Advanced software can recognize patterns from, for example, dishwashers and showers, and generate reports on how much water is used and what it is used for. The results can then be viewed on an iPad or mobile phone.

“Water consumption is a positive thing in itself, because hygiene is important, so what we’re focusing on is waste of water. Today, many food stalls, for example, bring their own dishwashers and washing machines,” says Peter Nørtoft.

“Perhaps the festival should—to a larger extent—provide machines and taps, which use less water. You can of course also look at the cost, which is important for how much water is consumed. Today the stalls pay a fixed amount irrespective of their consumption.”

Do not dare to guess about the potential
According to Peter Nørtoft, increased awareness of water consumption alone can lead to savings of 15-20 per cent. But the use of water at a festival like Roskilde cannot be compared with a lot of other things, so the project team do not dare to guess about the water-saving potential.

But they are confident that they can come up with proposals which will be able to reduce water consumption and perhaps make ‘dry’ showers a thing of the past.

Fun facts about water at Roskilde

An average festival-goer uses only one-fifth of an average Dane’s water consumption in the same period.

However, during the festival week approx. 18 million litres of water is still used, primarily for baths, stalls, and flushing toilets. This corresponds to the content of six to seven 50-metre swimming pools.

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