Rehab of 40-Year-Old Water Plant Earns Award

BY 
September 15, 2016

ASCE honored the City of Burbank Water and Power EcoCampus, in Burbank, CA, with the 2016 Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award for using the latest technologies in rehabilitating its 40-year-old water plant, permitting the entire Burbank Water and Power campus to operate on 100-percent recycled water.

The BWP EcoCampus uses sustainable design techniques, making it a model for demonstrating the economics of conservation and permanent sustainability. To make the 3.2 acres into a zero-discharge site an environmental drainage plan was devised that included five types of water filtration technologies: infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells, and rainwater capture. This unique system captures local stormwater and then filters and recycles it, on the BWP campus and throughout the city.

The historic administration building was restored to its original art deco style and systems were upgraded to qualify for LEED Platinum status. The building features a “Green Roof” with three rooftop gardens that channel and filter stormwater, while releasing moisture which cools the air and reduces air-conditioning needs. LEED Platinum status was also given to a warehouse and an electrical equipment building.

The adjoining street was rebuilt to become a sustainable “Green Street.” Structured to act as a filter for stormwater runoff, the street slows the flow and filters pollutants through landscape vegetation prior to reaching a groundwater aquifer. The combination of this one-of-a-kind public roadway, the state-of-the-art landscaped plaza, and LEED Platinum building showcases aspects of sustainable design in one location.

This project is a demonstration of the practicality and cost benefit of using sustainable practices, because it encourages regulators to be more flexible and adaptive to these examples. The campus is a prime resource for other engineers and architects involved in environmental design, allowing them to emulate and even improve upon the sustainable options displayed.

The Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award recognizes a civil engineering project for its creativity in the form of innovative sustainability. Projects must demonstrate adherence to the principles of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

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