WATER SYSTEM CASE STUDY – SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION (SFPUC)

YEAR: 2012                                               LOCATION : San Francisco
TYPE OF SYSTEM: Living Machine
CAPACITY:  5000 Gallons of waste water per day
CLIMATE: Mediterranean climate                                              
AREA: 277500 sft
TYPE OF WASTE: All waste water generated from the office building.
SCALE: Building

Case Study Background

The Public Utilities Commission , downtown San Francisco’s provider of power , drinking water and waste water services – was strongly committed to being a national leader in sustainable design. This case study is about  the administrative office of the San Francisco public utilities commission(SFPUC).

The challenge was to use green technologies that could work within the constraints of the building’s urban environment,as well as fulfill long term cost-saving measure. The SFPUC chose an integrated solar panels and wind turbines to generate energy and a Living Machine system to treat and reuse its wastewater.

CLIMATE AND LOCATION :

WASTE CASE STUDY - ECOLOGY

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The living Machine is housed in a 13 storey class ‘A’ office building , which houses over 900 employees.

Area of the office building : 277500 sqft.

WHY A LIVING MACHINE?

  • The SFPUC opted for integrated solar panels and wind turbines to generate energy and a Living Machine® system to treat and reuse its wastewater.
  • As the only ecological system capable of treating black water with a small physical footprint, appropriate to an urban setting, the Living Machine was the obvious choice.
  • Beyond size and integration issues, energy efficiency, low maintenance costs, water quality results and aesthetics were key elements for the SFPUC.
  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) awarded the SFPUC Administration Building with a Top Ten Green Project Award for 2013.

NORTHWEST AND NORTHEAST VIEWS OF THE BUILDING

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LIVING MACHINE PROCESS DIAGRAM:

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A THREE DIMENSIONAL VIEW OF THE LIVING MACHINE SYSTEM IN THE BUILDING:

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SYSTEM DESCRIPTIONS AND DIMENSIONS

  • One of the wetland treatment cells is incorporated into the lower lobby of the building.
  • The remaining wetland cells are incorporated into the city sidewalk on Polk and Golden Gate Streets.
  • Materials and plantings for both interior and exterior wetland cells were coordinated with project architect and landscape architects to integrate with site and building aesthetics

SYSTEM DIAGRAM -PLAN

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SYSTEM DIAGRAM – VIEW

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SYSTEM DIAGRAM – DIMENSIONS

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A total area of the Living Machine system : 2220 sq.ft approximately

CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN

The Living Machine system operation is fully automated through the control panel which operates all mechanical components of the system based on operator settings and sensor signals.

A touch-panel human-machine interface (HMI) display is integrated into the inner door of the control panel. This touch panel provides a graphical interface to monitor system performance and to change system parameters. Within the control panel is a programmable logic controller (PLC). This microcomputer interfaces with the HMI and electro mechanical devices through motor starters and relays.

The control system acquires readings from field sensors and switches within the panel, as well as user entered parameters provided through the HMI to make operational decisions based on these inputs.

The Control System for this project integrates operation of the rainwater collection and reuse system as well. In 2012, the SFPUC building received a “Best Intelligent Building Projects” award for the building’s control systems.

EXAMPLES SCREENS OF THE HMI

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PLANT COMMUNITY USED IN THE WETLAND CELLS:

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EXTERIOR PLANTS:

The Plants used are native or naturalized species. They are suited to very low light conditions and require low maintenance and capable of withstanding strong seasonal winds and demanding urban environment.

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INTERIOR PLANTS:   

The interior plants with striking foliage and flowers for aesthetic qualities are specifically chosen for low light conditions within the lobby.

SYSTEM BENEFITS:

  • Treats all waste water generated by the building’s employees and produces high quality water to flush toilets and for future off-site irrigation.
  • Treats 5000 gallons of waste water per day.
  • 12 to 5 gallons reduction in per person water consumption.
  • Saves 750,000 gallons per year.
  • 70% reduced water use in the building and 40% reduced potable water use in the building.
  • Provides 900,000 gallons per year for uses offsite.

OTHER BENEFITS :

  • Attractive exterior and interior foliage and a pleasant public space.

STAKEHOLDERS:

Clients:                                   San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Project Manager:                 San Francisco Department of Public Works
Architect:                               KMD/Stevens Architects
Landscape Architect:         Antonia Bava Landscape Architecture
General Contractor:            Webcor Builders
Engineering Partners:         Aqua Nova Engineers, SJ Engineers
Others:                                    Employees of the office building
and the general city.

  • by Anushree Nallapaneni and Keertana Lingamaneni

Video presentation of the case study – source of information

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