The Intelligent Scale Solution – Template Assisted Crystallization

A Sustainable Solution to Hard Water Scale
[ Page 1 of 5 ]  Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 next page
Sponsored by WATTS Water Technologies, Inc.
By Celeste Allen Novak, FAIA, LEED AP, BD+C

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define a sustainable approach to water quality management using a template-assisted crystallization (TAC) water conditioner.
  2. Discuss the environmental problems of water softeners, particularly the issues of using salt as a regenerating agent and the water that is discharged as a result of the regenerating cycle.
  3. Explain the detrimental and beneficial mineral components of water from both natural and treated water sources that can reduce energy efficiency and durability of plumbing fixtures and mechanical equipment.
  4. Integrate the components of an environmentally beneficial water system from water source to water waste to improve community water quality.


1 GBCI CE Hour
1 PDH*
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
As an IACET Accredited Provider, BNP Media offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia

Water quality and the preservation of water resources are among the top reasons that designers become environmentalists. Professionals design to reduce, recycle and reuse water. They know that drinking water is a nonrenewable resource and water use impacts many aspects of building design, including energy consumption. Most designers already know that they can reduce water by using low-flow fixtures. Some are experimenting with gray water reuse and recycling within a building as well as for irrigation. A select few are beginning to understand the impact of source water, with its increasingly complex mix of minerals, contaminants and pollutants, on building systems.

Buildings are part of a natural hydrologic cycle. The flow of water through the built environment can greatly influence water quality and harm plumbing and heating systems. Designing for zero waste, zero energy, gold, platinum, zirconium rating systems and beyond, architects and engineers have focused a lot of attention on using nature as a guide for environmental design. What if nature needs nurturing?

Water contains common elements, among which are ions of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. The problem with water is that high concentrations of calcium and magnesium contained in the water can cause scale to form on pipes and water heating equipment. Scale increases maintenance and causes premature mechanical failures resulting in as much as a 24 percent loss in energy efficiency in water heaters.1 A common early method of water conditioning used ion exchange or softening as a means to control scale. However, these systems execute regeneration cycles that discharge water and brine as waste, causing an environmental problem for natural water systems. In parts of California, Michigan and other states, policy regulations that protect the water supply include the ban of water softeners that use salt to regenerate. These policies mean that new forms of water treatment needed to be more environmentally sensitive, friendlier to the environment and free of chemicals, salt and waste discharge.

Photo courtesy of Mark Chalom and Betty Tsosie

The Sleeping Rainbow Ranch Environmental Research Station is designed to be off the grid and conserve water. Template-assisted crystallization water conditioning provided the solution to a complex requirement for energy-conserving, non-polluting water treatment.


[ Page 1 of 5 ]  Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 next page
Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in April 2019