Cornell Klarman - Rainwater Project For Toilet Flushing


Klarman/Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


Klarman/Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


Cornell University


Rooftop Rainwater for Toilet Flushing


June 2013


Cornell University’s new Klarman Hall, the first new building for the humanities on the central campus since 1905, began construction in June 2013 with an expected opening of January 2016. Connecting with the current Goldman Smith hall, the building will encompass 67,500 square feet and serve as the “gateway” to the College of Arts and Sciences. The project includes a 7,700 square foot sunlight filled atrium with an environmental sunshade and six green roofs to reduce heating and cooling costs as well as to collect rainwater for reuse.

Rooftop Rainwater for Toilet Flushing
Klarman Hall


When construction began on Klarman Hall, project management and administration knew they wanted to achieve LEED Platinum certification for the building. In order to earn LEED Platinum status, the project must earn a total of 80 or more LEED points, and incorporating water harvesting can earn 15 of those points for the project. Since the Klarman Hall project was a new construction as well as a retrofit of the current Goldman Smith Hall, the system needed to be able to fulfill the toilet flushing needs for both buildings.


Rainwater is collected from Klarman/Smith Hall’s 8,356 square feet of rooftop and from the 1,200 square feet of green roof space on Klarman Hall. The rainwater is then cleaned, sanitized, and pressurized for reuse in toilet flushing throughout the building, and any excess is stored in a 6,000-gallon cistern under the building.


The system supports approximately 1,950 gallons of toilet flushing per day in Klarman/Smith Hall with an estimated municipal water savings of 167,300 gallons per year.

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