Water efficiency is an important part of green building whose strategies and technologies reduce the amount of potable water consumed in buildings Many water conservation strategies have very low cost to implement which allows them to have a very quick payback.
Here are the 3 key components of water efficiency in green buildings according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The first step to improving water efficiency in a building is to know what the current water consumption is. Monitoring both the water and energy use can help people understand how these resources relate to each other and give the ability to make well informed and integrated decisions to improve water efficiency of the building. Accurately monitoring water consumption also gives information to validate and track improvement. Monitoring Water Consumption Performance
Reducing Indoor Potable Water
Reducing indoor potable water use can utilize alternative water sources for nonpotable applications like graywater and installing building upgrade such as water efficient fixtures, flow restrictions on existing fixtures, dry composting toilets, and waterless urinals. By implementing these strategies a building can quickly reduce the amount of water it withdraws from natural water bodies.
Reducing Water Consumption to Save Energy and Improve Environmental Well-Being
Usually the most significant savings for a green building associated with water efficiency results from reduced energy costs. By reducing the amount of water that must be treated, cooled / heated, and distributed you massively reduce the amount of energy needed to perform these task which in turn reduces costs. There are many studies that show that up to 15% of a commercial building’s energy consumption comes from water heating. Efficient hot water usage and generation through alternative methods like geothermal heating can represent a significant energy savings and also reduces the amount of pollution related to the production of energy.
Many studies also show that water efficiency directly impacts both environmental and human well-being. Both people and the environment are directly impacted when groundwater and reservoirs are depleted. Lower water levels concentrate natural contaminants like radon and arsenic but also human pollution from chemical wastes.
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