Microsoft Incorporates Water Reuse at Silicon Valley Campus

The campus will be the first tech campus with net-zero water certification, using a combination of water reuse practices and storm water management

Microsoft uses water reuse methods in Silicon Valley

Microsoft recently broke ground on a new Silicon Valley, Calif., campus designed to achieve net-zero non-potable water certification under the Living Building Challenge. The campus will incorporate green infrastructure and rainwater harvesting to collect 100% of the buildings’ non-potable water from recycled water. 

The extensive plan includes harvesting rainwater from clean roofs and solar panels, and retaining storm water from a 4-acre living roof. Storm water will be collected and treated through permeable paving, rain gardens and restored wetlands for non-potable use throughout the facility for applications such as irrigation and toilet flushing. Excess storm water will naturally be treated through green infrastructure and returned to Stevens Creek. The site will even feature its own wastewater treatment facility to make maximum use out of recycled water.

“Companies that did not anticipate the water risks are playing defense rather than offense,” Josh Henretig, senior director of environmental sustainability at Microsoft told Environmental Leader. “At Microsoft, we feel more comfortable when we’re proactively managing these issues.”

Microsoft released a blog, “A Watershed Moment,” detailing how net-zero non-potable water certification will be achieved at the site. Microsoft will become the first tech campus with net-zero water certification, boasting that, “not a drop of water for more than 2,000 employees, 15 acres of landscape, and 643,000 sq ft of built space will come from municipal sources.” In addition to water reuse and storm water management, the site will use low flow fixtures to reduce demand.

“It’s important that Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus has a positive impact on the local community and surrounding environment. That’s why we’ve designed the space with one particular resource in mind: water,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer said. “We’ve also designed the grounds in a way that will revitalize and support the neighboring Stevens Creek waterway.”

The campus is expected to be ready for occupancy in December 2019.

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