Grundfos was attracted by the city’s proximity to the Great Lakes and its forward-thinking leadership in terms of infrastructure modernization and sustainability
In April, Grundfos broke ground on the site of its new regional headquarters in the Chicago, Illinois area, a region that is quickly emerging as an important hub for the water industry. With its new presence in the state, Grundfos is poised to play an increasingly important role in the North American water industry.
The neighboring Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, and the area is already home to a number of major players in the water industry, including Siemens, General Electric, Kohler, Veolia, Pentair and Xylem. Indeed, the Great Lakes region produces most of the world’s water meters, heaters, filters, fixtures and pumps.
Stress on infrastructure
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has laid out an ambitious vision for the future that includes improving energy efficiency by 5 percent and decreasing water use by 2 percent citywide.
Meanwhile, the state of Illinois has shown commitment to water infrastructure though the $1 billion Clean Water Initiative, a plan that will guarantee the safety of drinking water, decrease energy costs and create green jobs across the state.
Maintaining water infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important concern for the American public. The growing U.S. population is putting added stress on infrastructure, creating larger and more frequent malfunctions such as leaks, water main breaks, and sink holes. Yet the United States simply cannot afford the trillions of dollars it would cost to completely replace the country’s aging infrastructure
“It wouldn’t be realistic to build 100,000 miles of new pipe, drill 1,000 new wells or establish 100 new power plants,” said Jes Munk Hansen, president of Grundfos North America. “Instead, we must promote the improvement of existing infrastructure through the use of advanced technology like the sensors, software and controls manufactured by Grundfos.”
A vicious cycle
The U.S. is stuck in a vicious cycle of energy and water use – energy production requires enormous volumes of water and the distribution of water is equally dependent on large amounts of energy. By 2030, the electric sector alone could consume as much water as the entire country’s domestic consumption in 1995, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Technology is the solution to this water-energy nexus. By improving the efficiency of water equipment, the industry can greatly reduce its dependence on energy.
“Technology will always be the foundation on which we stand at Grundfos,” said Søren Ø. Sørensen, Group executive vice president and chairman of the Grundfos North America Board. “In light of shrinking natural resources, society demands that we utilize our water and energy more effectively to secure our standard of living and ensure growth and prosperity.”
From Grundfos’ new headquarters in the Chicago area, the company will be able to more prominently contribute to political dialogue in the state and throughout the U.S., strongly advocating for the important role of technology in maintaining and improving the country’s aging infrastructure.