The International District Energy Association (IDEA) has recognized Emory University of Atlanta, GA with the 2018 IDEA Innovation Award for its wastewater reclamation and reuse system, “WaterHub”, in collaboration with Sustainable Water. Bob Salvatelli, Director of Sales at Sustainable Water & Joan Kowal, Senior Director of Energy and Utilities at Emory University accepted the award on behalf of Emory University at the 109th Annual IDEA Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver, BC.
The IDEA Innovation Award is an annual competition started in 2015 that is intended to recognize achievement of energy and water savings and collaboration among IDEA member systems and business partner technology providers. The intent of the IDEA Innovation Award is to bring visibility and awareness to projects that have potential for widespread application and replicability that may reduce energy usage, enhance efficiency or strengthen reliability.
To date, the WaterHub has displaced over 160 million gallons of municipally supplied potable water with reclaimed water, for example, providing 98% of total make-up to cooling towers. The reclaimed water also replaces potable water previously used for utility water makeup in Emory’s three largest chiller plants and the central campus steam plant, which together provide heating and cooling to over 70 buildings with over 7,000,000 square feet of space.
The WaterHub has also served as a catalyst to enhance academic research and community outreach activities on campus.It is currently being used as a platform to expand research and develop grant opportunities for emersion learning educational opportunities. Student docents rotate every semester to provide public tours of the facility for the Emory students, faculty and staff as well as the surrounding community. This world-class facility has attracted the attention of many facilities managers, corporate executives, sustainability personnel, and more. In 2017 alone, over 1,000 people visited and toured the WaterHub facility.
As summarized by former Emory President, Jim Wagner, “The WaterHub is Emory University at its best, and American universities at their best.”