Home\Educate\Water Reuse 101\Research Projects\Year\2013\Guidance for Implementing Reuse in New Buildings and Developments to Achieve LEED/Sustainability Goals

Guidance for Implementing Reuse in New Buildings and Developments to Achieve LEED/Sustainability Goals

Project: 10-08
Year: 2013
Type: Decision Making Tool

Program: Principal
Funding Partner: Pentair Foundation
Total Investment: $193,811.32 (Cash: $124,833.67, In-Kind: $68,977.65)

Principal Investigator: Benjamin Stanford, Ph.D., Hazen and Sawyer, P.C.


The study was conceived and funded in response to the lack of information for developers, engineers, and architects regarding the necessary infrastructure, costs of implementation, applicable regulations, associated benefits, potential challenges, and successful case studies associated with on-site wastewater treatment and reuse systems.

Goals and Objectives

The project provides practical guidelines regarding the feasibility of achieving sustainability goals by implementing on-site wastewater treatment and reuse systems for new buildings or developments.

Research Approach

Task 1: Literature Review and Market Analysis. Literature review and web search for existing reuse projects, document drivers for LEED certification, market Analysis of LEED certification

Task 2: Data Collection, Analysis, and Cost Curve Preparation. Collect data from existing project portfolios, catalogue, sort, and prioritize data for case study development, prepare at least 12 case study descriptions, develop cost curves

Task 3: Create Water Reuse Implementation Tool. Develop Excel-based analysis tool, beta test tool, incorporate feedback, and revise tool

Task 4: Prepare Guidance Document and Final Report

Findings and Conclusions

The three major outputs from this study included this Final Report, which also serves as a Guidance Manual, and the spreadsheet-based Database of Reuse Systems and Decision Support Tool. This Final Report includes an analysis of the systems in the database, a detailed review of 14 case-studies from the database, and the user manual for the Decision Support Tool.

Final Report. On-site wastewater treatment and reuse involve capturing wastewater close to the point of production and treating it to a quality that can be reused locally for indoor and outdoor nonpotable applications such as irrigation, toilet flushing, premise heating/cooling, and laundry. On-site wastewater treatment is otherwise referred to as satellite, decentralized, distributed, or small-scale wastewater treatment. This report considers treatment and reuse of wastewater combined from all sources including ‘graywater’ (wash water or laundry water) and ‘blackwater’ (toilet and kitchen waste), but does not consider systems that incorporate separate collection, treatment, and reuse of graywater and blackwater.

Database of Reuse Systems. The Database of Reuse Systems contains 52 systems compiled from projects around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. For each reuse system, the database includes information on the type of project served (industrial, residential, etc.), flow rate, costs, treatment and discharge technology, whether the project is LEED certified, and the applications for reuse water. Eleven of the reuse systems from the database were selected as detailed case-studies to provide additional discussion of physical size; treatment performance; use of power, chemicals, and labor; drivers for, benefits of, and barriers to adopting on-site water reuse; and operational and maintenance issues.

Decision Support Tool. The data from the larger database, supplemented with the detailed information collected for the case studies, were used to develop the cost curves necessary for the Decision Support Tool (DST). The spreadsheet-based DST was created to help users who are interested in on-site wastewater treatment and reuse to determine guideline metrics that can be used to support decision making. Outputs from the DST include metrics such as potential capital costs, operating costs, physical size of reuse systems, expected power consumption, the quantity of potable water that could be conserved, and the number of points that the system could achieve toward LEED accreditation for the project.

The DST takes between 5 and 20 min to complete, depending on user knowledge of the project, and consists of a series of data inputs including geographic location, population details, cost of regional water and sewer service, and applications for water reuse. The DST uses the user’s input variables, a regional variables database, a database of technology cost information, LEED 2009 guidelines, and industry standards to calculate the results that are output to the user. The DST uses data from the database of reuse systems, supplemented by other sources, to develop the necessary cost curves.

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