Water Hub is part of the modular and innovative research building NEST (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technology) of Empa and Eawag. The building consists of apartments, offices, meeting rooms and a fitness and wellness unit. This realistic construction allows for the testing of innovative and sustainable technologies under real-life conditions. NEST is constantly changing, as new units are regularly implemented. Testing in this way allows new technologies to enter the market much faster.
Researchers from Eawag are investigating sustainable and decentralised wastewater treatment in the Water Hub. Here, wastewater is treated as a resource, and fertiliser, clean water and energy can be recovered from wastewater. This is possible due to source separation of the different wastewater streams throughout the entire building. Special toilets separate urine from blackwater (flush water with faeces, can contain traces of urine) and parallel pipes transport the separate wastewater streams to the Water Hub. Greywater from the bathroom and kitchen are also separately transported to the Water Hub.
The nutrients present in urine are not diluted with flush water; therefore the nutrients can easily be recovered and processed to fertiliser. Greywater is not contaminated by faeces, which facilitates its reuse. Faeces can be processed into pellets that can be used to produce energy.
In NEST there are not only NoMix toilets installed, but also waterless urinals and recycling showers. This allows Eawag researchers to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to collect and treat the different wastewater stream together with research partners.
The Water Hub, as well as the whole NEST building can be visited in public guided tours.