Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Weiwei Mo

Second Advisor

Michael Palace

Third Advisor

Marek Petrik


Household decentralized water systems, including rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling, are often touted as a means to improve the sustainability and resiliency of centralized municipal systems. This research is focused on the spatial distribution of life cycle energy savings and consumer cost savings of adopting decentralized systems for individual households in the city of Boston. Using a Python model simulation, the optimal type and size of decentralized system for each household is selected based on the cost and energy comparison between the installation, operation, and maintenance of the new system and the process of treatment and delivery from the existing utility. The decentralized system selection is based on household characteristics such as distance from the centralized plants, number of tenants, and roof size. The distribution of households was mapped to analyze the spatial distribution of the effects of adopting a decentralized system. Greywater recycling systems largely returned cost and energy savings after 30 years, while rainwater harvesting systems resulted in losses.