Some six years ago, Kyle Taylor and his wife Maryam made the bold decision to uproot themselves and their two young sons from the hustle and bustle of New York City to seek out a relaxed lifestyle in a peaceful environment with a warm climate. After testing the waters in several Caribbean destinations, the Taylors ultimately chose to settle in Barbados. Upon making the move, Kyle continued to operate his US-based telecom company, Maryam joined a virtual healthcare business, and they also established the highly successful ECO Lifestyle + Lodge, a ground-breaking eco-initiative Boutique Hotel located in Bathsheba on the island’s East Coast. More recently, in addition to adding a third child to their family, these proactive entrepreneurs have successfully launched another sustainable, eco-friendly business, ECO SKYWATER.
Finding a sustainable alternative water source had always been a goal of mine ever since we built Eco Lifestyle & Lodge. Over the years, I had spoken to a number of experts about the possibility of extracting moisture from the atmosphere but was turned off because of the power requirements required for the process. John Lynch one of the leading experts in sustainable and alternative energy in Barbados had mentioned this new company that came out with a solar product and at the same time I met a surfer from Puerto Rico who was working for Source, the company manufacturing the same panels. Well, that was too much of a coincidence to ignore, so I committed to going ahead.
Many friends and colleagues thought I was completely mad, but I could see the enormous potential. Sustainable, pure water, with no by-products that can be made anywhere there is sun. Taking an innovative step like this can help position Barbados as a leading eco-friendly, environmentally aware country. It could demonstrate that even though this island might be physically small, it can still make a big impact on the world and lead the way in the realisation of sustainable eco-initiatives. The island is water scarce, so this could be an extremely attractive solution with regard to drinking water. We are literally taking pure water out of the sky. Anybody building a new house could put a couple of our panels on the roof and run a pipe down into the kitchen, even directly into the fridge. A constant, self-replenishing source of pure water, with no energy costs involved. It makes so much sense that the real question becomes, ‘Why wouldn’t you do it?’ A large majority of houses on the island have Solar Hot Water Heaters so why not have a Solar water maker?
One of my immediate goals is to install a system in every school in Barbados, so that every student can have full and easy access to high quality drinking water any time of day, any time of year, even when the electricity goes oﬀ. To assist the schools and the government, we want to encourage the private sector to step forward and sponsor a school’s drinking water. It would make a huge diﬀerence to the daily lives of so many children and improve their overall wellbeing. Similarly, I’d like to see one on top of all the larger, concrete bus-stops, so travellers can keep themselves hydrated. Next to beaches, in play areas, parks, sports ﬁelds, wherever you ﬁnd thirsty people. It’s essentially about providing a new public water system that ﬁts in with all the sustainability and environmental demands of the modern world.
Barbados wants to become a sustainable space. So just imagine if every house had solar panels to generate hot water, two of our panels for making pure drinking water, and a catchment for collecting grey water for non-potable use. That would solve just about all of the water challenges currently facing the country.
It is all very achievable. We can really make it happen.
It’s Not Just About Water
ECO SKYWATER, made by Source Panels, is packaged in both glass bottles on a circular delivery and return system, as well as in 500ml 100% non-GMO corn bottles which look and feel like plastic, but they are not. These bottles have no fossil fuels, just corn and water. They will break down in a landﬁll and do not need a commercial facility. However, Kyle has built a compost station on his farm where he can remove the bottles in 75 days or less, and then use that compost to grow vegetables and fruit trees. ECO SKYWATER will take back the bottles from their clients when they deliver new ones and regenerate them into soil. Imagine if all plastic water bottles could be turned into something positive instead of winding up in our gullies and on our beaches. Or, if they are lucky, on a container back to Miami to hopefully be recycled. Kyle and his team believe 100% in recycling, but if you can lower the carbon footprint of some of these plastic items it would do wonders for the world. Since Barbados is looking to remove single use plastic, this is a logical next step.