Denver Water sets an example for water conservation
Denver Water has a new 36-acre complex, slated to open in the fall of 2019. According to Buildings, it utilized two strategies when it comes to 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 an internal policy that reflects 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.”
Along with using low-flow fixtures in the building and implementing low-water use for landscaping, the campus incorporate two strategies for water conservation, according to Buildings.
The first is through a rainwater collection system on the roof, according to Buildings. The concept is not unique, but the volume of it 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 the entire roof of an adjacent parking garage.
“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 being used. According to Buildings, the system captures all of the gray and black water used in the administration building. Black water is water from the toilet and kitchen and they gray water is water from incidental uses, such as hand sinks.
According to Buildings, the water is recycled within a series of mechanical and natural processes and deposited in the same reservoir that the captured rainwater flows into to be used for irrigation. The recycled water can also be diverted back into the toilets to be reused for toilet flushing.