The LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Services Center designed by the Miller Hull Partnership is a LEED Platinum certified wastewater treatment plant and recently named a COTE 2011 Top Ten Green Project.
The design challenge for the project included renovating the existing administrative and laboratory building, and the creation of a new four-story Regional Services Center to house administrative offices, an emergency operations center, and boardroom, and an education center with interpretive exhibits and a classroom.
“The new facility is a tangible example of the sustainable principles that guide the LOTT organization and fuel their efficient operations and education programs,” said Scott Wolf, partner at Miller Hull.
While most wastewater treatment plants around the country are separated from their communities by a chain link fence, LOTT actively engages the public. Class A reclaimed water, produced at the treatment plant, is water that has been used and then cleaned to high quality standards so it can be returned to the community for irrigation, toilet flushing, industrial and manufacturing, and many other uses. Benefits include wastewater and water supply management, and environmental enhancement such as using reclaimed water for wetlands restoration or streamflow augmentation.
The reclaimed water for LOTT’s new facility is used for a pond surrounding the center, for irrigating the grounds and the building’s green roof, and for toilet flushing inside the building.
Designed with a contemporary, industrial aesthetic, the building is meant to complement its surroundings, while the structure’s height acts like an iconic symbol for the neighborhood. The facility is coordinated with other projects planned in the area, including a new Hands on Children’s Museum—also designed by Miller Hull—currently under construction, and the East Bay Public Plaza.
“This new building portrays all the good things about community stewardship,” said Robert Hull, one of the founding partners of Miller Hull. “It’s no longer just a sewage treatment plant. It becomes the new public face of LOTT in the community.”
A water fountain sculpture resembling a large cup pours reclaimed water into the pond and creates a visual and audible signal to the public, symbolically returning the treated reclaimed water to the community for reuse. The water in the pond moves slowly around the front of the building to the east. The edges of the pond are lined with plants, and a smaller pond within the larger water feature supports water lilies. The pond’s water is recycled, requiring minimal make-up water to sustain the pond. Two walkways were constructed over the pond leading people to the building entrances.
Other sustainable elements of the project include reused timbers from a port warehouse that was demolished near the site. The energy use for the project is 50 percent less than of a typical building resulting in significant cost savings over its lifetime. Natural light in the office spaces reduces or eliminates the need for artificial lighting during most of the day. Lastly, external louvers control sunlight and minimize solar gain which further reduces the need for air conditioning.