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Previous Business Winners


Sierra Circuits is a circuit board manufacturer headquartered in Sunnyvale. They use various processes to produce printed circuit boards (PCBs),including drilling, imaging, etching and plating copper, nickel, palladium and gold. The wastewater is treated by both conventional (chemical adjustment, flocculation and clarification) and ion exchange methods, followed by pH adjustment and filtration before discharge to the Sunnyvale Sanitary System. To reduce the water required to manufacture PCBs as well as wastewater discharge, Sierra Circuits implemented an innovative program to both reduce required water and recycle wastewater after primary treatment through several steps, including ion exchange, secondary microfiltration, electrowinning, ozonation and reverse osmosis. Sierra Circuits also captures and uses rainwater when available. As a result, they now recycle 60% - 70% of the 1.6 million gallons per month required to manufacture PCBs. In addition to reducing water demand, Sierra Circuits also saves $182,000 per year as a result of these efforts. 



Oracle uses reclaimed water at its campuses in Redwood Shores and Santa Clara. This represents a 42% reduction in potable water use at Redwood Shores, saving more than 31 million gallons of potable water and $285,000 per year. In Santa Clara, reclaimed water is used for irrigation and cooling towers, representing 89% of total water use on campus and saving more than 57 million gallons of potable water and $144,000 per year. All irrigation is sub-metered for better monitoring, and both campuses have installed Weathertrak controllers that adjust irrigation automatically according to real-time weather conditions. In Redwood Shores, irrigation is monitored through Waterfluence, and reports routinely rate Oracle “Best in City.” In addition to using reclaimed water, irrigation water has been reduced by 29% through conservation measures, saving an additional 10 million gallons and $91,000 per year. Oracle is currently implementing a multi-million-dollar project to convert landscape at Redwood Shores to xeriscape, with 20% completed. In Redwood Shores, cooling tower water is cycled up to 18 times, versus a more typical eight to 10 cycles in other buildings, reducing water usage by approximately 1.5 million gallons, saving $63,000 per year. Restrooms at Redwood Shores are being retrofitted with faucet flow-restrictors, low-flow showerheads and high-efficiency toilets and urinals, saving an additional 5 million gallons and $97,000 per year. Total annual savings were 91 million gallons of potable water and $573,000.


Bay Maples Wild California Gardens is a sustainable landscaping company located in San Jose. Last year they converted 22,000 square feet of grass to climate-appropriate landscapes, and installed 16 greywater systems and five rainwater catchment systems. Bay Maples also hosted more than 30 workshops on rainwater catchment, greywater installations, rain gardens, composting and aquaponics. They donated and installed water-smart gardens at Booksin Elementary School in San Jose and the Common Ground Community Garden in Palo Alto. Owner Alan Hackler converted his home into a demonstration house, showcasing San Jose’s first permitted rainwater catchment system used for indoor plumbing, and several greywater systems, including one that uses rainwater to wash clothes and then irrigate the landscape. He also worked with the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County to get a code variance to install a kitchen sink greywater system. The front yard is xeriscaped with all native plants, and features a 600-gallon rain tank and rain garden. An abandoned lot next door was converted into a water-wise community garden where public workshops and garden tours take place.


Forty Niners Stadium Management Co. - Levi’s Stadium – As of February 2015, a mere 6 months into operation, the new 49ers stadium has saved nearly 10 million gallons of potable water by using recycled water. The LEED Gold-certified Levi’s Stadium uses recycled water for all onsite irrigation, including the playing field and a 27,000 square-foot green roof landscaped with drought-tolerant native vegetation, cooling tower make-up water, and toilet and urinal flushing. In February 2015, Levi’s Stadium became the first outdoor stadium to use recycled water for a National Hockey League ice rink. Fans and spectators are exposed to concepts of water conservation through messaging and recycled water signage throughout the stadium. Average per-attendee water use is approximately eight gallons, with five gallons being recycled water for flushing more than a thousand high-efficiency toilets and urinals. Levi’s Stadium will host Super Bowl 50 in 2016, showcasing the facility to an estimated audience of 115 million people.


Google – Through the implementation of interior and exterior water efficiency measures, Google saved close to 20 million gallons of potable water in 2013. They removed the batteries from all of their auto-flush urinals and installed urinal cake with enzymes that help eliminate the build up of calcium crystals. This has essentially made the urinals waterless, eliminating hundreds of flushes per day. Google also worked closely with the City of Mountain View on two large irrigation projects that converted existing systems from potable to recycled water. They are currently using about 15 million gallons of recycled water per year, and anticipate this increasing to 24 million gallons by the end of the year.


Lifescan – Over the last decade, LifeScan has successfully completed water conservation and recycled water projects that have resulted in a reduction of more than 90% of potable water use on its campus. Since 2004, recycled water has been used to irrigate the 280,000 square feet of landscaping and trees on campus. In 2009, LifeScan completed the first industrial recycled water project in Milpitas by partnering with the City and South Bay Water Recycling. The recycled water is used to feed three 700-ton cooling towers that are part of the HVAC chilled water plant. In 2012, recycled water made up 93% of LifeScan’s total water usage. LifeScan also has implemented several water conversation measures, including installation of waterless urinals (0 gpf), low-flow toilets (1.6 gpf), low-flow faucets (0.5 gpm) and low-flow shower heads (2.0 gpm) in 10 restrooms on campus. A project is currently underway to install self-adjusting irrigation controllers that will receive weather information from local stations and use that data to adjust irrigation times. The controllers also will be able to measure moisture and rainfall and modify irrigation times accordingly.


Adobe Systems (Large Business) – Through implementation of water conservation measures, Adobe Systems has reduced its indoor water use at its owned properties by an average of 44%, and irrigation water by 86%. In San Jose alone, Adobe’s water conservation measures save more than 17 million gallons per year. Water conservation measures include sub-metered water systems, real-time monitoring, flow restrictors on all faucets (1.0 gpm), low-flow showerheads (1.5 gpm), waterless urinals (0 gpf), high-efficiency toilets for men’s rooms (1.28 gpf), dual-flush toilets for women’s rooms (1.6 and 1.1 gpf), xeriscaping (all plants are native or adapted to local micro-climates), subsurface drip irrigation, low-volume stream rotary sprinklers and ET-controllers that automatically adjust irrigation based on wireless communication from local weather stations.  Earth Bound Homes (Small Business) is a builder and remodeler based in Santa Clara. They built the highest rated green home in California, and are currently building what will be the highest rated LEED-Platinum home in the country. All EBH projects include engineered water saving plumbing systems using state of the art PEX right-sized piping and home run plumbing design. Water fixtures are installed with either restrictors or aerators that allow flows at a fraction of what is required by code. EBH often employs water recycling technologies such as greywater systems and rainwater storage. All of their projects have either xeriscaping or drought tolerant landscaping, greatly reducing or eliminating outdoor water use. The average EBH project uses less than 50% of the water used by the average home.

Earth Bound Homes (Small Business) is a builder and remodeler based in Santa Clara. They built the highest rated green home in California, and are currently building what will be the highest rated LEED-Platinum home in the country. All EBH projects include engineered water saving plumbing systems using state of the art PEX right-sized piping and home run plumbing design. Water fixtures are installed with either restrictors or aerators that allow flows at a fraction of what is required by code. EBH often employs water recycling technologies such as greywater systems and rainwater storage. All of their projects have either xeriscaping or drought tolerant landscaping, greatly reducing or eliminating outdoor water use. The average EBH project uses less than 50% of the water used by the average home.


Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Large Business) treats and reuses approximately 60% of the wastewater generated from its manufacturing rinse operations, using it as evaporative make-up water at the site’s cooling towers. This saves approximately 70 million gallons of water per year. A new facilities project is reducing the amount of water used to produce deionized water for manufacturing processes. The initial step involves treating groundwater through multiple First Pass Reverse Osmosis (RO) units, recovering the RO reject and treating it with a new Second Pass RO train. About half of the treated RO reject can be recovered and reused. This adds up to a savings of 37 million gallons of water per year.

Brandenburg, Staedler & Moore Mobile Home Communities (Small Business) owns and operates 13 facilities in Silicon Valley, comprising more than 2,700 spaces. Over the past 13 years, they have worked with San Jose Water Company, San Jose Municipal Water Company and the City of Sunnyvale to overcome all barriers to the installation of individual water meters in 12 of their 13 mobile home communities. With financial support from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), they have spent between $170 and $200 per space to install submeters, with the SCVWD reimbursing them half of the cost. Once the price of water was separated from rent, conservation became an individual goal, and savings in water usage ranged from 20 to 30% at their various sites.


Cisco Systems – By retro-commissioning variable frequency drive and HVAC systems, the Cisco Systems campus in San Jose now saves 22 million gallons of water per year.  Water efficiency programs for cafeteria kitchens, locker room showers, bathrooms, landscaping and cooling towers saves another 20 million gallons per year.  Cisco recently installed 99 evapo-transpiration irrigation controllers with rain sensors, resulting in a 21% reduction in landscape water use.  They converted 12 large display fountains into planter beds and utilize drought-tolerant plants, drip irrigation and mulch to reduce water use throughout the campus.  Recycled water for landscape irrigation and display fountains represents 30% of water consumption.


Applied Materials (Overall Business) reduced water use by 16%, saving more than 40 million gallons of water per year.

L-3 Communications (Program-Specific Business) reduced its water use for cleaning and plating by 65%, saving 10 million gallons of water and $21,000 per year.