Purified Water System For LEED Platinum 196,000 sq. ft Health Sciences Biomedical Research Facility II (Biomed II)

Water Works, Inc. announces the completion of a purified water system for the new 196,000 sq. ft. UC San Diego Health Sciences Biomedical Research Facility II in La Jolla, CA.

The water purification system was designed to help the facility to qualify for LEED Platinum Certification (in-progress).

Installation Overview

The 7 story building supports a 5-floor laboratory complex (over 75% of the facility). The extensive water and energy needs required to support R&D operations made the task of designing a LEED Platinum-qualifying system particularly challenging. The result, however, is the most advanced building on campus from an energy and water efficiency standpoint.

In order to accommodate high-volume constantly evolving R&D needs for water quality, Water Works designed a robust water purification system, delivering water that exceeds the university's requirement for purity. The purification system is centralized, reducing variability in water quality and ensuring consistent distribution of high quality water throughout the building.


In addition to the typical large-scale, variable-needs challenges that come with multi-storied R&D facilities, the Biomed II facility had advanced requirements for strict energy-efficiency and water sustainability.

The Water Works engineering team succeeded in meeting this challenge by optimizing every element of the water purification system. The final 2014 system design was the result of two years of upfront engineering in close collaboration with architectural, structural, and planning teams.

Water Works Engineering team designed and built the following water-saving elements:

  • The centralization and co-location of the water purification and system controls to eliminate the inefficiencies in water production and distribution.

The new configuration consolidates all control and isolation capabilities into a single console (instead of typical at-floor locations). The resulting system allows for floor-by-floor isolation to be completed in under 30 min by a single operator (instead of involving multiple people coordinating water system balancing over the course of a workday).

  • Advanced Water Reclamation. The Water Works engineering team designed the RO system to operate at 100% water recovery (unlike the 50%-75% recovery of traditional RO systems).

The RO concentrate is recovered automatically and blended with low salinity AC condensate, producing non-potable water that is several times cleaner than city water. Importantly, the microbial control for the reuse system uses an elegantly simple ozonation and UV sterilization system, eliminating the need for chlorine, harsh chemicals, and pumps.

In addition to ensuring sustainable water use, the blended clean water is significantly less corrosive than condensate-only systems, allowing for the longer usable life of water delivery and plumbing systems.

  • Maximized Water Reuse. The reuse water is diverted for landscape irrigation and toilets most of the year. The quality and distribution of the reused water is monitored and centralized by a PLC based control system.

The Results

  • The Biomed II building's water purification system became the design model for the rest of the buildings on campus.

  • The facility saves 1.2 million of gallons of water per year.

During the first 8 months of operation, Biomed II reused 555,000 gallons and sent another 135,000 gallons of reuse water to drain due to overcapacity. Event If no alternate use for the reclaimed water is implemented, the facility is on track to reuse about 1,000,000 gallons in the first year of operation.  Implementing additional utilization for the reusable water could realize an additional 200,000 gallons per year of reuse water utilization.

  • The high quality (5-10x cleaner than city water) allows for many additional uses of the reclaimed water.