Solaire Building Conserves Up to Nine Million Gallons of Water per Year

Dec. 14, 2005

The on-site water-recycling system reuses up to 25,000 gallons of wastewater per day (gpd), which greatly reduces the amount of potable water taken from New York City’s water system. The system recycles and treats the building’s sewage for reuse, such as toilet flushing, HVAC cooling and subsurface irrigation of an adjacent park. The building also has a 10,000 sq ft green rooftop garden and water retention system that absorbs nearly 70% of rainwater and redirects it for landscape irrigation. When necessary, recycled wastewater is used to irrigate the roof.

American Water’s Applied Water Management Group designs, builds and operates decentralized water and wastewater treatment plants, focusing on water reuse and environmental sustainability. The company designed and currently operates the water recycling system, which came on-line in 2003. An advanced membrane bioreactor system is employed to generate high-quality effluent for the following onsite applications:

  • 9,000 gpd toilet flush water;
  • 11,500 gpd cooling tower make-up; and
  • 6,000 gpd landscape irrigation.

Aerobic and anaerobic treatment removes nitrogen to meet New York standards, and ultra-violet light is used to kill pathogenic bacteria. Effluent polishing also results in superior water clarity.

Engineers designed the reuse system to be highly automated with remote alarm and monitoring capability; a programmable controller that takes readings of flow rates and oxygen levels monitors overall system performance. The system requires an operator to visit twice a week for a few hours each visit.

The Solaire not only saves water, but also consumes 35% less energy overall, with a 67% reduction at peak demand. The building construction materials also have 19% recycled content. In recognition of its groundbreaking “green” design and operations, The Solaire received a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development) rating from the Green Building Council.

American Water’s Applied Water Management Group has begun a second treatment and recycling treatment system to serve Tribeca Green, located on the same block as the Solaire. The building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, offers a host of environmentally-friendly features, including solar collection roof panels, rainwater recycling, and advanced airtight wall system and high performance windows in every home.

American Water has also been contracted to supply a third water treatment system for the Millennium Tower Residences, currently under construction at the southern end of Battery Park City. The 340,000 sq ft tower will offer 236 condominium apartments and sit adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences in New York, Battery Park.

This is the fourth “green” building to be constructed in Battery Park City; the project is slated for completion by the end of 2006.

About the Author

Michael Zavoda

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