UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation to the implementation of rainwater harvesting and filtration system in the new Student Union Building (SUB) at UBC Lu, Shuyi; Oraei, Mostafa; Sangha, Aaron; Wong, Kingson


The University of British Columbia is under its way in designing and constructing the New Student Union Building (SUB). To be completed in 2014, the New SUB will be a unique facility that serves as a dynamic gathering place for students to interact and grow a vibrant student community on the UBC-Vancouver campus. Aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, which is the highest green building rating in North America, the design and construction of the New SUB will serve as a model for future sustainable development around the world. LEED promotes five key areas of sustainable approach, including sustainable site development, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency and water efficiency. In order to achieve the LEED platinum standards, the New SUB will significantly lower its water consumption by collecting, filtering and storing rainwater in cisterns for various uses, including irrigating rooftop garden and flushing toilets. This project starts by outlining the components of rainwater harvesting (RWH) system, which consists of ten parts: gutter guards, leaf screens, first-flush diverters, roof washers, sand filters, settling tanks, in-line filter, storage system, distribution system and purification system. Followed by that is the detailed introduction of five types of filtration methods, including UV light, chlorination, ozonation, reverse osmosis and thermal treatment. The report then goes further to analyze two currently implemented RWH projects in North America in terms of water collection and usage. And finally the project concludes with triple-bottom line analysis and recommendation to the feasibility of implementing RWH system on the New SUB. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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