Friday, February 18, 2011

Employing Ecosystems

Employing Ecosystems as Infrastructure for Green Building

16 February 2011 - Wastewater is not typically considered an engaging topic of conversation, much less a potential asset to green building. Yet, green builders are recognizing that water, along with energy and materials, is the essential ingredient for locally reintegrating natural and human ecosystems. New onsite ecological wastewater treatment and reuse technologies now offer green builders the opportunity to go further in changing the face of communities by including beautiful, functional “ecosystems as infrastructure” directly in the design of the built environment.

Whether for new buildings or revitalizing existing structures and communities, decentralized wastewater reuse can create vitally important environmental and economic value to the larger community. With advanced ecological technologies, it is possible to go well beyond conventional graywater recycling. Advanced ecological treatment systems take high-strength (blackwater) wastewater, utilize the nutrients, and clean it to tertiary standards suitable for onsite reuse.

Incorporating such systems into green building designs offers environmental value even in many situations where a sewer grid is accessible. The looming water shortages, combined with water infrastructure that is overtaxed, aging, and expensive to maintain, are bringing many municipalities to the edge of crisis. New water treatment concepts and technologies for green building can help municipalities address those problems through ecological solutions, as well as offering environmentally sound approaches for sites with no access to municipal treatment. {continued}

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