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WATER MANDATING A MAXIMUM FLUSH VOLUME OF 1.28 GALLONS ON TOILETS WOULD NOT SEVERELY IMPACT CONSUMER SATISFACTION BUT COULD SAVE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF WATER EVERY DAY.

RAIN COLLECTION The Brock Environmental Center features a graywater system that collects and filters rainwater.

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“Brock is truly net-zero water, possibly the first in the U.S. to receive a commercial permit for drinking treated rainwater in accordance with federal requirements,” Greg Mella, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, director of sustainable design at SmithGroupJJR. The primary strategy to reduce water consumption was the use of composting toilets. Flush fixtures represent the majority of water use for office buildings. Composting toilets are completely waterless. These low-flow—or waterless— plumbing fixtures reduce the regulated water demand of the project by approximately 90%. Net-zero water was achieved by meeting the entire—potable and non-potable—demand using treated rainwater.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.

FIRST THINGS FIRST According to Greg Mella, director of sustainable design at SmithGroupJJR, while it isn’t necessary to use recycled water to benefit from low-flow fixtures, low-flow fixtures are a necessary benefit to water harvesting.

Low-flow fixtures make sense regardless of whether or not a water recycling regime is incorporated into a design.” Using low-flow fixtures including dual-flush or high-efficiency toilets, we are routinely achieving a 30-40% reduction in regulated water use. Using low-flow fixtures with waterless toilets can result in a 80-90% reduction in water use,” says Mella. Often there are no cost impacts to using low-flow fixtures, and as water scarcity becomes an increased concern, these strategies and fixtures are part of SmithGroup JJR’s standard design practice. “Last year, 83% of SmithGroupJJR projects on the boards achieved a 20% reduction or greater in regulated water-use. While it isn’t necessary to use recycled water to benefit from low-flow fixtures, low flow fixtures are a necessary component to water harvesting. By reducing water demand, you can reduce the size of water storage and filtration equipment, thus reducing the cost and scale of rainwater harvesting components,” continues Mella.

TO SERVE AND PROTECT The Brock Environmental Center serves as the hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Hampton Road office and supports their education, outreach, advocacy and restoration initiatives. The Center provides meeting rooms designed to express CBF’s mission to protect one of the nation’s most valuable and threatened natural resources–Chesapeake Bay. CASE STUDY

BROCK ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Profile for Construction Business Media

Net Zero Buildings - November 2016  

Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design.

Net Zero Buildings - November 2016  

Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design.