Startups and corporations alike are rethinking office buildings. Beyond just restructuring spaces for the post-pandemic workforce, many are thinking about the role construction and architecture can play in a more sustainable urban environment.
For Miami-based Ecovie Water Management, that means helping buildings become more water resilient.
Founded in 2009, the startup has helped several buildings across Metro Atlanta and the Southeast recycle, filter, and manage rainwater and greywater.
Ecovie designed and supplied the rainwater and nuisance groundwater collection system at NCR’s Midtown Atlanta HQ, which is projected to supply 5 million gallons of water per year. It also worked with St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Interface building on West Peachtree, and UGA’s extension campus in Savannah, Georgia.
Outside of the Southeast, Ecovie has helped Los Angeles’ food hall Eataly and Uber’s San Francisco headquarters repurpose rainwater and greywater.
Bob Drew, Ecovie Water Management’s CEO, told Hypepotamus that decentralizing on-site water management can have several important downstream impacts. “By capturing rainwater from rooftops and greywater from showers, laundry, and bathroom sinks, most if not all a building’s water needs can be met. This reduces demand for municipal or well water while also reducing sewer discharge and runoff.”
He added that such water capturing techniques can also decrease the impact of droughts and flooding while creating cleaner waterways overall.
It can also help buildings meet LEED or Living Building Challenge requirements, offset rising water costs, or meet new state guidelines around Low Impact Development (LID). This is particularly important in Atlanta, where drought and a rapid population boom have strained the water supply.
Beyond the Water Wars
Those following local news might be struck by a positive Florida-Georgia water connection. It’s perhaps an unlikely story of collaboration between the two states after years of a ‘water war’ that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But several Southeast startups have grown over the years to help improve how we think about water resiliency, hydropower, and water safety. And they may help play a role in helping the region transform into a CleanTech hub.
Emrgy, a 2020 ATDC graduate, develops technology to deliver hydropower without the need for new massive construction projects. Aquagenuity, founded in Atlanta by Doll Avant, is making water quality data accessible to help thwart the next Flint Water Crisis before it happens.
Up in North Carolina, NALA Systems is working on reverse osmosis technology to improve access to clean drinking water.