San Francisco Public Utilities shows off Living Machine

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.


Topics: Sustainable Communities, Urban Planning and Design, USGBC, Wastewater Management / Wastewater Treatment, Water Saving Strategies and Devices

Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

Sponsored Links:

Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights





High-efficiency refugee center seeks final partners for construction