Atlanta – Georgia Tech is leading the US and in particular the southeast US in demonstrating innovative green building. The recent completion of its Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design seeks full Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification and is truly a jewel of innovative design.
Ecovie has helped meet LBC Water Petal certification for this project by providing rainwater system design and equipment for the building’s sole water source. There is no city water connected with water collected from the roof, including the solar panel, being the sole water source. Any excess water goes to on-site infiltration. This means the project achieves true net-zero for water, with no outside water being used & with no stormwater runoff. All collected water meets the building needs including drinking water and non-potable uses. It is one of a handful of commercial-scale potable rainwater systems in the US.
The 37,000 square-foot Kendeda Building was funded from a $30 million grant by the building consists of two 64-seat classrooms, two 24-seat classrooms, and two 16-seat classrooms, a conference room, an auditorium, and a maker space, which is a workspace where people with common interests, such as computers, machining, technology, science, digital art, or electronic art, can meet, socialize and collaborate. Also, a rooftop garden and a pollinator garden will be added to increase the greenery and to promote clean air. Its restrooms’ walls are made from recycled materials and the toilets will use less water than traditional toilets.
Update: The system started up in late 2019. Recently, a 40-day water quality test was completed with the State of Georgia and the system is approved for potable water use.
To get an overview of the technology used, see this video.
Ecovie & Partners
Ecovie’s local sales representative for this project was Georgia Water Tanks (GWT). GWT worked with local Newcomb and Boyd along with the firms Biohabitats and PAE to develop the fit with the overall water management plan. The installing contractor was Batchelor and Kimball under general contractor Skanska. Ecovie and GWT worked with the design engineers from conception through engineering design as well as working with Aqua Treatment Services (ATS) for the main water treatment. Ecovie has several other commercial potable rainwater systems in various stages of development. In addition to these commercial-scale potable rainwater systems, there are hundreds of single-family residential; scale systems in operation, many of which Ecovie has designed and installed.
You may wonder how is it possible to use captured rainwater from a rooftop as a potable water source? We will get to that in a minute, but first, it is important to emphasize that roof captured rainwater is a primo water source. Typically, this water contains a lot less contaminants than other typical water sources such as surface water and groundwater.
By not hitting the ground, collected rainwater keeps away from contaminants that come from things like farm and industrial runoff, animal activity, and even discharge from our own water treatment plants. This means that treatment of roof captured rainwater need not be overly complicated or complex since it doesn’t contain the pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, drugs, and other toxins found in other source waters.
On-Site Water System Design:
Like all Ecovie rainwater systems, the design starts with the basic fundamentals of rainwater collection and storage, following ARCSA/ASPE 63 guidelines. Our PURAIN jump filters efficiently pre-filters rain from the rooftop as it enters the cistern (NSF 61 certified).
From the tank, water is pumped on demand through treatment which is quite similar to residential scale potable systems with sediment and carbon filtration with UV. What differs is that for commercial-scale we use a treatment which is fully 3rd party validated drinking water test proving actual bacteria, virus, and protozoa (cryptosporidium) elimination with at least a 4 log removal of pathogens (99.99% removal). The test results in fact showed over 7 log reduction (99.99999%), far exceeding the requirement. This is done using ATS multi-barrier treatment.
The ATS SKMB multi-barrier treatment is the only total disinfection treatment system tested with live organisms for MS2, Cryptosporidium, Bacillus Globigii, and Adenovirus with the EPA as well as having UVDGM 3rd party validation. This validation was done on each individual component and with the system as a whole.
The system uses monitoring equipment and uploads water quality data to a building management system (BMS). This helps with reporting requirements to the State of Georgia. Parameters such as free chlorine, pH, and turbidity are monitored continuously as well as equipment status with the filtration, UV, and the pumping system.
We would be delighted to talk with anyone in detail about the GA Tech Kendeda LBC project and our approach to potable rainwater systems. Please contact us with any feedback or questions.
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