Photothèque VEOLIA

A 6-star building using recycled water

Posted on 20 September 2017.

In one of the greenest buildings in the world - the Darling Quarter - every year the equivalent of 148 million bottles of drinking water is saved by recycling wastewater.

 In the heart of Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia, the  Darling Quarter Commonwealth Bank Place North building has reduced its drinking water consumption by more than 90 %!

Why flush drinking water down the toilet when you can use recycled water? Today, using state-of-the-art technologies, we can do better than just treating wastewater and discharging into the natural environment. Wastewater can be treated to such a level of quality that it becomes feasible to reuse it - as happens in Australia, in the heart of Sydney's Darling Harbour. In the Darling Quarter building, drinking water consumption has been slashed by more than 90% thanks to the installation of a wastewater recycling plant, which reuses water in a multitude of ways.

A 6-star building

Located at Darling Walk, C4/1 Harbour St, Sydney NSW 2000close to  the Chinese Garden, the Commonwealth Bank Head Quarters is a "modest" eight-floor building - with offices, shops and parking - in Darling Harbour, a rehabilitated harbour area where "sydneysider" families love to stroll.

Led by Lend Lease, a giant in the architecture and construction industry, the project was awarded Green Star certification, which assigns a number of stars from 0 to 6 depending on the building’s environmental performance. The building was awarded 6 stars, or more precisely "6 Star Green Star - Office As Built v3", the most difficult to obtain. It was the first to receive it, and for good reason as its facilities save up to 2,500 tons of CO2 emissions per year and reduce drinking water consumption by 92% in comparison with a conventional building!

Darling Quarter is managed by JLL and was also the first building in Australia to receive “6 Star Green Star - Performance” for ongoing commitment, management & maintenance – This enabled the site to become the first in Australia to be awarded the Quad of Green Star – Design, As Built, Tenancy & Performance.

These ecological installations include a triple-generation system, which simultaneously produces electricity, heat and cold, air conditioning systems that limit energy consumption, a façade that maximizes natural light while reducing heat, a rainwater harvesting system and a wastewater recycling plant...

148 million bottles

For Lend Lease and the other stakeholders, obtaining this prestigious certification was a major challenge - and one of the goals that ensured the success of the project. The wastewater recycling plant in the basement of the building  made a huge contribution!

Build and operated by Veolia, it combines several advanced technologies that produce high quality recycled water for use in air conditioning, irrigating the green spaces and flushing toilets. Used in conjunction with a rainwater harvesting system it successfully reduces drinking water consumption. How?

The wastewater is first taken from a sewer system in Sydney, near the site. This is called “sewer mining”. This wastewater then undergoes a series of treatments. Firstly, the Moving Bed Bio Reactor and Neosep processes developed by Veolia Water Technologies eliminate any bacteria and suspended solids. Then comes reverse osmosis, a filtration system that uses membranes to remove salts and micro particles measuring under 0.0001 micrometers in diameter. And finally, the water undergoes two treatments, ultraviolet and chlorination, followed by a battery of tests. And it’s ready to be reused!

The Darling Quarter wastewater recycling plant processes 245 kiloliters of wastewater per day and produces more than 160 kiloliters of recycled water (60 mega liters per year) – that’s the equivalent of 148 million bottles of water - or more than 20 Olympic pools - saved every year. Water it would be a shame to just flush down the toilet…