Project: Rooftop rainwater to flush toilets. Comfort stations at 40th Street and Osterman Beach.
Challenge: The Parks Division of the City of Chicago wanted to its two new comfort stations along the Lake Michigan Lake Shore Drive to be environmentally responsible and serve as demonstration projects for the the city's efforts toward sustainable design.
Solution: Architects Muller & Muller worked closely with Wahaso to design a system to capture rainwater from the roofs of the two buildings to flush toilets and urinals in the building. Wahaso's design pre-filters the rainwater through vortex filters into a 2,000 Atlantis D-Raintank cistern below grade. Permeable pavers above the cistern also capture stormwater run-off into the cistern. An ultra violet loop system sanitizes the water to ensure that it is safe for public exposure. U.V. was used instead of chlorine to minimize maintenance. In a unique building design twist, the processing day tank was elevated in a chase behind windows that make it visible to park visitors from the rest rooms. A diagram outside the building shows how the system works.
Results: The two systems were up and running during the Summer of 2010. Each should save 45,000 gallons per year and meet virtually 100% of all flushing needs during the spring, summer and fall.
In December, 2010, the project earned Mayor Daley's Greenworks Award for Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment. The award stated, 'The Lakefront Comfort Stations are an amazing example of how a building can live in harmony with its environment. Constructed to provide basic public facilities for beach users, these buildings harvest rain water for use in flushing toilets, are vented and cooled naturally by lake breezes, and are 100% naturally day lit through the use of solar skylight tubes. And all of these amazing features could not have been brought together without the commitment at Muller & Muller to push for changes to state and local building codes. Thank you for taking environmentally innovative technologies to the next level while also paving the way for others to follow in your footsteps.'