Flotation Centers: Water-Wasting Trend or Eco-Opportunity?
One can rarely predict the market. Whoever plays the entrepreneurs’ game is usually running a gamble and it’s at an expensive cost when you consider what’s at stake. Some of the biggest environmental tragedies of the last twenty years involve risky actions of oil companies that have caused irreparable damage to some of the areas that tourists once traveled hundreds of miles to see.
What’s to be done when the almighty dollar controls so much of what we do? The answer for many is to bet on sure winners. What are those, you might ask? The environmentally sustainable business coalition called Ceres, undertakes the task of highlighting sustainable companies. This is a good way to look for starting a business without the gamble of destroying the place we all call home.
Let’s outline a business plan for a company, and by following some of the guidelines set in place by Ceres, we will re-imagine it into a thriving, environmentally sound, money maker.
Drought is causing costs of many of the public’s favorite activities to skyrocket in price. This is backed by a glimpse into the summer hotel price index, displayed here. If hotels, a common commodity, are seeing the drought-to-price correlation then certainly we can extrapolate that other water consuming businesses are feeling the heat, as well. One tough niche would be that of Flotation Tank centers, a newly realized niche that has an interesting history of it’s own.
A Simple Concept
In the late 1960s a Harvard Professor, John C. Lilly, began the course of a study on psychology using isolation tanks. Large, sealed vats of salinated water, so much in fact, that the high concentration of salt provided the experience of floating. That combined with a heating system ensures air and water retain the same temperature, allowed patients to lose sensation of being in their body. These out-of-body experiences were studied by the professor but really carried no commercial use for many years.
Fast-forward to the late 2000s, as comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan begins preaching the word of the isolation tank. Not only do sales of individual units skyrocket but businesses begin popping up all over the United States with the goal to give customers the same sensations as Lilly gave patients so many years ago.
The Economic Side
One can easily see how this is the kind of business that must use immense amounts of water. Between bathers the water must be cleaned and changed out, and a massive filtration system for each tank utilizes electricity constantly.
Thus the obvious answer for any burgeoning ecopreneurist would be to stay far away from the flotation center business and use discretion at any posing opportunity to start such. The solution is that of employing not only solar to offset electricity costs, but also that of rain water collection. The application of solar and eco-friendly water infrastructure technology can easily provide the energy solutions needed for this simple facility’s design.
With patience, proper location, and this modus operandi in practice an offset in cost is made. The business in question will already be using a large filtration system for the tanks, but by using proper eco-friendly water source will prove effective in fighting off large power bills.
At this point, the number of floating participants has grown over two hundred percent in the last decade, a number that most industries never see in their lifetime. Some of these facilities use up to 10,000 gallons of water per year. If that number dwindled down with natural water saving technology then perhaps this growing trend can give people the relaxation experiences they are after while making little impact on the environment.
[About the author: Ryan De La Rosa speculates about the future and travels the northwest writing about his thoughts (dogs) and experiences (dogs). Follow him on Twitter: @fernsandmoss. Image via Bookbyte.]« How Activated Carbon is Providing Clean Water in Developing Countries California Drought Presents Water Innovation Opportunities »