Denver Water sets an example for water conservation
Denver Water has a new 36-acre complex which is set to open in the fall of 2019. According to Buildings, the complex utilizes two strategies on conserving and recycling its water usage.
“As you can imagine, Denver Water has a pretty big stake in promoting their image as a water provider,” says Tony Thornton, senior associate and senior project manager at Stantec, the architecture, engineering and design firm that managed the Denver Water project.
According to Buildings, the agency provides water to 1.4 million customers and has a policy reflecting its responsibility to the community and environmental stewardship. Denver Water also has a responsibility to its employees, Thornton said.
“They wanted to take all of these things and turn the project into something that would best exemplify that,” he said. “In particular, where they thought they could move the needle was with water conservation.”
The campus incorporates two strategies for water conservation as well as implements low-water use for landscaping, according to Buildings.
One conservation effort is through a rainwater collection system on the roof, according to Buildings. This concept is not a new, but the system's volume is. When it opens, Denver Water will be able to capture rainwater on the entire roof of the 190,000 sq ft administration building, as well as one of the parking garage's roof.
“It’s a volume that’s not currently allowed in Denver and most of Colorado,” Thornton said. “We have water rights that come into play. Denver Water has the unique position to be able to barter with their own water rights. It’s a pilot idea that they would then, if successful, work on with future developers.”
The water recycling system is another water conservation strategy used in the new complex. According to Buildings, the system captures the gray and black water used in the administration building. Black water is water from the toilet and kitchen, and the gray water is water from incidental uses, such as hand sinks.
According to Buildings, the water is recycled from a series of mechanical and natural processes. It is then deposited in the same reservoir that the rainwater flows into to be used for irrigation. The recycled water can also be used in the toilets for toilet flushing.