HVAC Condensate Helps Community Garden Grow

  July 5, 2018

By Naomi Millán

Condensate from a Chicago music school's rooftop units is helping grow a community garden in a vacant lot in the city's West Loop neighborhood.

The community garden is set up on a lot that might be developed in the future, so the garden's components are portable. The setup includes 100 kiddie pools on pallets, rainwater catchment, and a steady drip of condensate from the Merit School of Music. The condensate is gathered with PVC and high-density polyethylene pipes and fed into a holding tank.

The project could harvest up to 1,000 gallons of condensate a day, according to a post on the True West Loop Facebook page by Moshe Tamssot, the projects leader. His group is also in conversation with the school to see if it is possible to capture the 12,500 gallons per inch of rainfall on the school's roof for use in the garden, according to Block Club Chicago.

Harvested condensate has many potential applications beyond helping a patch of abandoned concrete turn into a verdant community space. It can be used for cooling tower makeup or even toilet flushing. In situations where the water might become aerosolized, precautions against Legionella and other bacterial contamination must be taken.

This video from Block Club Chicago shows the condensate harvesting system installation.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management


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