San Francisco Public Utilities shows off Living Machine
Illustration courtesy of USGBC
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) headquarters is taking water conservation to a new level.
Although various decentralized wastewater treatment technologies exist throughout the world, the SFPUC’s Living Machine is the first treatment system to combine these technologies and apply it to an office building within a densely urban environment, reports the U.S. Green Building Council.
This SFPUC demonstration system is in San Francisco’s busy Civic Center area. The building’s planter boxes are engineered to mimic tidal wetlands, which help treat all of the building’s black and gray water, and, in turn, provide non-potable toilet flushing water for the building.
To date, the Living Machine has saved more than 3.5 million gallons of potable water, reducing consumption from an average of 12 gallons per person per day in a typical office building to five gallons per person per day.
The SFPUC building at 525 Golden Gate achieved LEED Platinum certification and is one of the few projects to meet all available LEED water credits.
The technology used and lessons learned from the Living Machine continue to set precedents for the state’s wastewater treatment and water conservation efforts. The Living Machine was the first system permitted under San Francisco Health Code Article 12C, more commonly known as the Non-potable Water Ordinance.
Though it began as a voluntary program in 2012, in July 2015 the ordinance became a requirement for all new construction of 250,000 square feet or more of gross floor area. With San Francisco leading the way, decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse is on its way to becoming the new norm. Learn more about the SFPUC Living Machine.
Companies: U.S. Green Building Council