Going Platinum

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The city of Portland, Ore., is an extremely progressive city in terms of environmental quality. With that in mind, city planners teamed up with Portland’s largest employer, the Oregon Health and Science University, and two development companies to build a dense urban green neighborhood.

This neighborhood includes retail, housing, green spaces and the OHSU expansion. One of the first new buildings in this development is the River Campus One Building (OHSU Expansion). The OHSU building is a mixed-use facility that houses commercial office space, a wellness center, medical research, outpatient surgery and ground floor retail. See Figure 1 for an artist’s rendering of the OHSU building.

This 400,000-sq-ft, 16-story building cost $145 million to build and was completed in fall 2006. Despite being a green building, the project team believes it was built on a conventional construction budget.

Among many energy and water conservation programs, the OHSU building recycles 100% of wastewater generated. It is reused for in-building toilet flushing, cooling tower water and landscape irrigation. The OHSU building uses approximately 60% less potable water than a similar conventional building with the help of an Enviroquip MBR system . Effluent not reused can be discharged directly to the Lower Willamette River because of the Level IV reuse water produced by the MBR system.

The OHSU River Campus One building has achieved LEED Platinum status. To date, it is the largest LEED Platinum certified building in the U.S. The Enviroquip MBR System was selected because of its superior effluent quality, small footprint, ease of operation, expandability, low odor, low sludge production and low cost of ownership. This system contributed three points toward the building’s Platinum status.

To reduce upfront capital costs, the project team only purchased membrane capacity for Phase 1 of the buildout—15,000 gal per day (gpd). The building filled up quicker than expected, so the remainder of the membranes were purchased and made operational by the end of September 2007. The MBR system uses Kubota flat-plate membranes for filtration. At this facility, the membranes are installed in the ground floor of the parking garage and covered by heavy-duty metal covers (see Figure 2).

Before the expansion, the plant regularly handled flows in excess of design. According to Ken Johannes, the plant operator, “Inflows from the building are higher than was originally modeled, with weekday average daily flows at currently about 165% of plan. The two MBRs have performed outstanding.”

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