Thermal Energy Recovery from Wastewater

Jim McQuarrie, Tetra Tech’s One Water innovation lead, and Jake Derlaga, director of high performance analysis, discuss the potential for wastewater systems to be utilized as a district energy source that can help fulfill energy decarbonization goals.

This year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report matched our personal observations—the world’s climate is changing. Continued economic growth and environmental sustainability are inextricably linked by climate change impacts, as well as the carrying capacity and finite limitations of natural resources. There is not one without the other.

The make-take-dispose model of the 20th century is giving way to a far more circular economy powered by renewable energy and resourced by the widespread adoption of social and business practices that reform spent materials (i.e., waste) into recyclable assets.

Innovative approaches to decarbonizing the built environment can be achieved through collaboration and partnering of various stakeholders, such as policy makers, architects, urban planners, and civil infrastructure experts. Working together, these stakeholders can deliver transformational, sustainable communities that incorporate the principles of a circular economy into holistic system designs for campuses and districts. Because these systems require agreements and business models that are new to the United States, they require flexibility in terms of structures of governance, utility services, and energy service agreements to accommodate the types of partnerships that can effect substantive change. In this article, we will explain how The Cove can become a model for applications of such novel and transformational systems.

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Photo © Inplace Visuals for Ennead Architects

Jim McQuarrie

Jim McQuarrie

Jim McQuarrie is Tetra Tech’s One Water innovation lead and a professional engineer with more than 25 years of experience serving the municipal wastewater industry in both public and private sector roles. Jim has deep practical expertise in wastewater infrastructure planning, design, and operation and has been active in bringing innovation into practice wherever it helps to save on lifecycle infrastructure costs or improve social sustainability. He has his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and Master of Science in Environmental and Civil Engineering from Colorado State University.

Jake Derlaga

Jake Derlaga, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP BD+C

Jake Derlaga, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP BD+C, has more than 10 years of experience in providing energy analysis and simulation, assisting projects in successfully achieving building certification, securing incentives, and exceeding energy code requirements. His energy analysis expertise led to serving on the NYC Energy Code Advisory Committee, where he worked with city staff and agencies to review and edit the 2019 NYC Energy Conservation Code. Jake’s experience includes researching and analyzing active and passive energy reducing strategies and their impact on energy reduction, carbon reduction, and energy cost savings. He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech.