Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.77
Liaison Teddy Lhoutellier
Submission Date May 15, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Miami
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Teddy Lhoutellier
Sustainability Manager
Environmental Health and Safety
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Autonomous Net Zero Water Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Intellectual Merit:
The intellectual focus of this project is the development of principles for the design of net-zero water buildings, off the water grid. These principles represent a paradigm shift from centralized reduction of oxygen demand, to energy-minimal conveyance and permanent destruction of pharmaceuticals, responsive to technological evolution. Three knowledge barriers are addressed: sustainable treatment system scaling and design; sociocultural and architectural acceptance; and real-time risk assessment. Concepts for system scaling will mimic energy- minimal allometric scaling relationships in biological circulatory systems. New energy-minimal electrocatalytic treatment for effective destruction of pharmaceuticals will be advanced. Difficulty in laboratory-simulation of closed-loop reuse will be overcome by implementation at a dorm unit, with student involvement. Energy-intensive reverse osmosis (RO) treatment will be avoided through cistern drinking and make-up water, low-flow adaptation of new cloth filtration technology, and metallic iron-mediated filtration. To surmount acceptance barriers, behavioral simulations, interviews, and focus groups will first identify individual and group barriers to adoption and then test approaches for improving sociocultural acceptability. Design components including cisterns, residuals storage, annual maintenance, and natural water releases will be considered within the theoretical framework of New Urbanist architecture. Methods of evidence fusion will be developed for machine-learned assessment of in-vitro toxicity from fluorescence spectra, to advance real-time risk monitoring and to ensure system safety.
Broader Impacts:
System design concepts will directly address the energetics of water and wastewater conveyance, representing 15% of U.S. electric power generation, and leverage emerging capability for automated treatment, monitoring, and decentralized operation and maintenance. Urban water demands would be satisfied and removed from the natural system; pharmaceuticals would be largely removed from the environment, and pesticides and industrial chemicals would be largely removed from drinking water supplies. De facto reuse of surface water consisting largely of treated wastewater would be replaced with explicitly engineered control. Water rationing, and treatment of hardness, arsenic, and boron, and other geologic impurities, would be largely obviated. Treatment would be designed to routinely, permanently destroy pharmaceuticals, addressing widespread biotic feminization. Benefits will propagate through the engagement of a new generation in their future, immersed by living in a dedicated, cross-disciplinary, undergraduate ~20-bed retrofitted dorm unit with design input by students. Well-represented Caribbean and Latin student populations will continue to be involved along with participating agencies and industry partners, for immersion in terms of research, industrial partnerships, public tours, and 1-2 high school student projects (MAST Academy). A Capstone Net-Zero Water Workshop will include regulators, consulting firms, students, and faculty.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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