Design-Build & Energy-Efficient Projects Tapped for State Awards

Innovative Projects Win Grand Awards

McKim & Creed, Inc. has won two Engineering Excellence Grand Awards for its work on innovative projects at Emory University and UNC Charlotte. The awards were presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina at its annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, held in Raleigh on November 5.

The award-winning projects were the WaterHub at Emory University and the Partnership, Outreach, and Research to Accelerate Learning (PORTAL) at UNC Charlotte. The $12-million WaterHub at Atlanta’s Emory University is a water reclamation facility that harnesses the power of naturally occurring biological processes to recycle up to 40 percent of the university’s water needs. It is expected to save millions of dollars in water utility costs for the university over the next 20 years, and has been called “a model for us all” by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

The $24-million, 96,000-SF PORTAL is a business incubator and corporate innovation center that provides emerging businesses with access to university researchers and academics, business support services, and research partnership opportunities with mature and established companies. UNC Charlotte Construction Manager Jennifer L. Price, PE, calls the facility “a beautiful example of how form and function in a building can work together in perfect harmony.”

“McKim & Creed is honored to be recognized for our work on these innovative projects. We were privileged to collaborate with insightful, forward-thinking clients and talented, creative consultants, and we are pleased to share these awards with them,” said John Lucey, PE, president and CEO of McKim & Creed.

About the WaterHub at Emory

Jim Wagner, president of Emory University, has said the WaterHub at Emory “exemplifies how we as a society can take a more intelligent and responsible path to stewardship of our natural resources, for the good of each other.” The facility is an onsite ecological water reclamation treatment facility capable of reclaiming ~400,000 gallons of water per day, displacing 40 percent of campus water needs and reducing demand on water-stressed Metro Atlanta. The first system of its kind installed in the U.S., the WaterHub mines wastewater from the campus sewer system and repurposes it for beneficial reuse using hydroponic reactors (with submerged fixed-film) and reciprocating wetlands. In its first month of operation, the WaterHub reclaimed 6.2 million gallons of water. It is expected to save millions of dollars in water utility costs for the university over a 20-year period.

The design/build/own/operate team of the WaterHub at Emory included Sustainable Water, LLC, Reeves Young and McKim & Creed.


PORTAL was designed by LaBella Associates, with McKim & Creed providing mechanical, electrical plumbing and fire protection engineering services. PORTAL currently houses 24+ entrepreneurial and early-stage businesses and features a café, four-story atrium, flexible office space, and a confidential secure area that is the first of its kind in North Carolina. Construction was completed for $1.4 million under budget.

“Within [PORTAL], there were many engineering challenges to overcome: a cafe that sits above a secured area, adjustable walls to allow for flexibility of tenant spaces, conference rooms housed within glass partitions that sit in ‘bridges’ across the main atrium, and so many more, all the while having to meet the mandate of an energy reduction per the State of North Carolina. McKim & Creed, working in conjunction with Pease (LaBella), overcame these challenges and worked with the design and construction team to deliver a building that not only meets the form that the University needed and desired, but also functions efficiently throughout all the system,” said Price.

The engineering excellence awards program is an annual competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies that honors and recognizes engineering and surveying firms for projects that demonstrate the highest degree of achievement, value and ingenuity. The grand award is the top prize given in the award categories, and McKim & Creed received two of the four grand awards presented at the North Carolina gala.