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AGU Building - Municipal Sewer Heat Exchange System


2000 Florida Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, USA

Project Overview
Project Name: AGU Building - Municipal Sewer Heat Exchange System
Completion Date: 2019
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Project Status: Complete
Official Website: Building AGU

Project Tags: Net Zero Energy Wastewater Innovative

Project Team

Disciplines That Worked on Project

Civil Engineer: WaterMechanical Engineer

Project Details
About this project
In this first of its kind system in the United States, the new American Geophysical Union (AGU) building's municipal sewer heat exchange system recovers thermal energy from wastewater. The municipal sewer heat exchange taps into the City's sewer line which is located 30 feet below the ground under the road in front of the building. This wastewater is diverted to a settling tank located outside of the building. Water from the settling tank is then circulated to an exchange system located inside the building that extracts energy from the water for heating and cooling. The water is then returned to the sanitary sewer system.

The municipal sewer heat exchange works with the AGU building's radiant cooling system to eliminate the need for cooling towers on the roof and saves a substantial quantity of fresh potable water.

More details on how it works:
Wastewater is brought into a wet well via gravity. The wastewater is screened of its solid material. The screened water is pumped into the building and into the RoWin heat exchanger tank from HUBER Technologies. Condenser water fills the tubes inside the heat exchanger tank and transfers heat without coming into direct contact with the wastewater. Condenser water is then pumped to a chiller. Finally, the wastewater is returned to the sewer system.
Who benefits from this project, and how?
Occupants of the building benefit from the municipal sewer heat exchange because it eliminates the need for a cooling tower on the roof and a substantial quantity of fresh potable water is saved. Without the cooling tower the noise and unsightly plumes associated with cooling towers are also eliminated.

This system also reduces the energy consumption of the building. The public will benefit from the municipal sewer heat exchange system because it is the first of its kind in the United States. By having this apart of AGU's building it will encourage the incorporation of similar approaches and designs into new and existing facilities throughout the United States.
Environmental considerations
This system taps into the sewer line in front of the building to reduce AGU's energy consumption and maximize the resources on site. It reduces the need for off-site energy.
What's unique about this project?
While this type of system has been done in Europe, this is the first time it's been used in the United States. The municipal sewer heat exchange system will basically function the same way a geothermal system does, but uses heat from the City's sewer system.

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