Sustainability Decathlon Efficient Water Usage and Recycling


Southern California has been at the forefront of recent droughts, and scarcity of freshwater necessitates innovative development in ways to conserve water. In addition, California has also been grappling with a housing shortage that is driving costs of homes unreasonably high. Our team is tasked with investigating and designing affordable ways in which water saving technologies and water recycling systems can be integrated into an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) that will be placed in a low-income neighborhood in Orange County. The ADU must be designed to have very low water consumption such that it achieves satisfactory ratings outlined in the Home Energy Rating System for Water (HERSH2OⓇ). Due to varying conditions and needs of property owners, the ADU design must be versatile. Therefore, we are also aiming to integrate modularity and affordability into our design so that the ADU can be compartmentalized by function such that bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens can be easily added/removed based on varying needs of future customers. Our team plans to integrate low-consumption fixtures, a water recycling system, and bioremediation system into the ADU design so that the home can be ultimately built off-grid. 

Goal and Objectives:

10/2 -  System Outline (Idea of Filtration System and Bioremediation System)

10/23 - Website Created

10/30 - System design of Bioremediation System and Filtration System

11/6 - Full List of Fixtures of low flow nozzles

11/20 - Full System Design including material specs

11/27 - Complete Presentation Ready

Bioremediation System:

Water from bathroom sinks and showers will immediately be directed to the bioremediation system. In the bioremediation system, the water will go through various filters, mainly the bio filter (contains microorganisms that will decompose contaminants) as well as extra filters (sand or gravel) to remove suspended particles.

Filtration Sysem:

Filtration System: 75% of water that goes down the drain can be filtered for reuse. Our filtration system aims to reduce water waste by using a sediment filter and carbon adsorption unit after water has come out of our bioremediation system. To know when the filters need to be replaced, we have a smart system of sensors to measure pH and electrical conductivity.  Water that has been filtered in this system will go to a storage tank to be reused in the toilet and for irrigation.

Team Contacts

Seth Roberts

Haoming Huang

Jadzia Davidson

Kripa Ramakrishnan

Wenhan Ji


Professor Mark Walter

Alexandra Huff






Project status: 
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Fall Poster: