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     Inside this issue:
Building Green at Black Rock
Clivus Blooms in the Desert
Tradeshows/Conferences November 9, 2006 | Vol. 1, Issue 1

Greenbuild, Denver, CO

November 15-17, 2006

Come visit us at booth #937!

Golf Industry Show, Anaheim, CA

February 22-24, 2007

Come visit us at booth #8406!


That's a Load of Crap

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that every year, in each county across the nation, the amount of untreated sewage that enters the environment is enough to fill both the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden.”

source: NRDC

Also of Interest

Clivus Goes National

Clivus is to be featured in an episode of the National Geographic Channel series Assembly Required. The episode, titled Flushed, will focus on tracing the continuing evolution and impact of the modern toilet. Alternatives to the conventional flush toilet, including “green” technologies such as Clivus Multrum’s composting toilet system, will be discussed. The show is scheduled to air on Sunday, November 12th, at 3:00pm ET, and on Monday, November 13th, at 5:00pm ET. For more information about the segment, please visit the National Geographic Channel website at or give us a call at 800-425-4887.

Maintenance Services

Did you know that Clivus can arrange to provide your facility with composting system maintenance services? Clivus offers a variety of maintenance options to meet your needs. No matter where your facility is located, we’ll come to you or work with local subcontractors to ensure that the job is done right. Call us at 800-425-4887 for more information.

E-Newsletter at Last!

Well… it wasn’t easy, and it sure wasn’t pretty.  We squabbled over the layout, bickered about the content, and wrangled over the title.  We shouted, screamed, and cursed.  At one point, it very nearly came to fisticuffs.  But the great minds at Clivus persevered, and in the end, it all came together.  And now, we are pleased to bring you the inaugural issue of our much anticipated e-newsletter, designed to keep you in the know. So, without further ado, here is the Natural Solution News. 

Building Green at Black Rock

The Black Rock Forest Lodge

An hour north of New York City, Black Rock Forest offers a peek into the ecological history of the region.  Relatively untouched, the 3785 acre forest preserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna.  The vast wooded area, with its numerous wetlands, ponds, and streams, provides opportunities to learn and gain appreciation for the natural world.  The area was first designated as a “research and demonstration forest” back in 1928.  More recently, the preserve was purchased by the Black Rock Consortium, a group of research, educational, and cultural institutions, including Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and others.  Since the late 1990’s, the Consortium has overseen the development of the Black Rock Forest Center for Science and Education.  This limited development provides researchers and students with a facility from which to study and enjoy nature.  During the school year, visiting students range mainly between the ages of 8-16. While these younger students tend to stay for only one night, Black Rock also hosts Columbia University students for extended periods in the summer.  

It has been almost seven years, we now have seven composting units, and we are quite satisfied.

Designed by Fox and Fowle Architects (now FXFOWLE), of New York, NY, the Center was built in two phases.  The 9000 square foot Center for Science and Education was completed in 1999, and the similarly-sized Forest Lodge, which can sleep upwards of 50 guests, was finished in the fall of 2004.  Appreciative of the effects that development can have on eco-systems, the Consortium has sought to design, construct, and manage its facilities to be as ‘green’ as possible. 

In order to protect and conserve water and soil, both buildings use Clivus Multrum composting toilet systems, but the Clivus systems were not chosen without competition.  Dr. William Schuster, the Executive Director of the Consortium, says, “I insisted that we review all the possibilities for our green features and so we compiled information on three different waterless toilet systems. We spoke with their reps and visited existing installations… Other systems did not seem to have as good a track record and our interactions with Clivus were always professional and very helpful, so we decided to go with Clivus. It has been almost seven years, we now have seven composting units, and we are quite satisfied.”  

The lodge has four composters, and the Science Center has three smaller models.  All the composting systems at Black Rock use waterless fixtures, which save up to 420,000 gallons of water per year.  But even in the peak months of May and October, when the Center can get over 500 visitors, the Clivuses handle the use easily.  The composting systems have often proved to be the main attraction on tours of the facilities.  Recently appointed Operations Manager Jack Caldwell, who conducts the tours for adults and children, says, “Kids want to know what’s going on with the toilets all the time.” Adults have plenty of questions too.  And Caldwell is the right man to ask, since he is responsible for regular maintenance of the composting systems.  (He gets help a couple of times per year under a periodic maintenance inspection contract by Clivus.)  According to Caldwell, maintenance is no big deal—“a small price to pay to gain a great benefit to the environment.”  In fact, he says, “…It does not feel like work at all.   I am looking forward to removing the composted soil.” 

There are a number of other interesting, green features at Black Rock as well—including a geo-thermal heating system, which supplies all of the heat for both buildings, and solar panels on the Science Center, which provide 50% of the building’s electricity.  Both buildings also make extensive use of local materials in their designs.  Raw materials for wood paneling, posts, and stone facing were taken from the local forest, and the Center was built on a previously developed site.  These green elements help to mitigate any effects of the development on surrounding eco-systems.  But maybe more importantly, these features help create a learning environment where students come to appreciate the natural world and become inspired to protect it.

Clivus Blooms in the Desert

The Lost Dog Wash Trailhead Access Area

The area surrounding Scottsdale, AZ is desert country--a world away from the ponds and streams of Black Rock Forest.  But the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, on the outskirts of the city, has its own unique beauty--offering suburban residents and visitors an easy-to-reach outdoor escape.  The preserve’s rugged landscape is dotted with cacti and wildflowers.  Currently consisting of over 11,500 acres, plans call to increase the protected area to over 36,000 acres.  In order to allow for better access to the hiking and recreational opportunities, the town of Scottsdale funded the new Lost Dog Wash Trailhead Access Area.  Opened in limited capacity this past May, the 3900 square foot facility includes group rooms, an interpretive area, restrooms, a picnic spot, parking, a small amphitheater, and even an equestrian area.  Lead architect Phil Weddle of Tempe, Arizona’s Weddle Gilmore Architects, says it will eventually be just one of nine new trailhead access facilities dotting the preserve.

The foam-flush toilets have a look and feel similar to conventional flush toilets, but use only 3 ounces of water per flush.

From the outset, the city of Scottsdale was committed to building green at Lost Dog Wash.  To conserve water and avoid tying into the sewer line 1500 feet from the site, Weddle, who had talked with company representatives at a Green Building Conference, suggested Clivus Systems.  The four Clivus Multrum M35 composters are fed by four foam-flush toilets and two waterless urinals in the restrooms.  The foam-flush toilets have a look and feel similar to conventional flush toilets, but use only 3 ounces of water per flush.  And considering that the Lost Dog Wash facility is expected to attract around 250,000 visitors per year, that’s a lot of water saved—up to 404,000 gallons annually. The plan is that the nutrient end-products from the composting systems will be used for plant fertilization in the Preserve, thereby achieving a complete, non-polluting, recycling system.  Management of the function of the composting process will be carried out by Clivus.

While Lost Dog Wash did not go for LEED certification, it has won a number of awards for its use of green building technologies, including the AIA Arizona Sustainable Design Award and the Valley Forward Crescordia.  The facility is completely off the grid.  Rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems re-use 75,000 gallons of water per year for irrigation, and a photovoltaic system supplies all the building’s electricity.  In addition, the facility uses rammed-earth construction, porous paving, and a high percentage of native and recycled materials.  These methods help ensure that the Preserve will be around in the future.