Optimum water conservation has become a focal survival point since the earth holds only 2.5% of freshwater. Today, the concept of green buildings is all about optimizing water reservation tactics, so we do not waste even a droplet of our lifeforce.
Green buildings save water by integrating water-efficient technologies in their design, construction, and living strategies, making it easier for us to manage wastage and live healthily.
In today’s article, I will shed some light on water efficiency, the importance of green buildings, how they help save water, and some tips to follow if you’re looking to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Let’s begin!
Water Efficiency and Water Conservation
Water efficiency and conservation follow various strategies to reduce and control water waste through proven methods. Fresh water for human and industrial consumption is scarce and limited as a natural resource, making it crucial yet rapidly diminishing.
Water conservation is all about reducing unnecessary water usage and controlling its wastage from our daily use. On the other hand, water efficiency includes technologies encouraging limited yet full utilization of fresh water without wasting a single drop.
Water efficiency does not mean using less water than needed but using it efficiently without limiting your water-related activities. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, back in 2014, the United States needed 400 billion gallons of water daily.
Landscaping, building, construction, etc., uses about 47 billion gallons (178 billion liters) daily, constituting 12% of total water usage.
One of the best outcomes of water-efficient activities is how it can help you save more money by following a smarter approach when it comes to water usage. Not to forget, its global impact leads to nothing but a greener and brighter future for us all.
With a massive rise in population over the last decade, being conscious of our natural resource usage can help us conserve the natural balance.
What Are Green Buildings?
A green building encourages eco-friendly, affordable, and healthier living through its unique construction, design, and maintenance strategies. It allows people to reduce the wastage of natural resources and adapt to construction and living strategies that aid the environment.
According to the World Green Building Council, here are some features that \ define a perfect green building:
- It uses solar energy
- It encourages recycling and waste management
- All construction materials are ethical and non-toxic
- Is adaptable to rapid environmental changes
- Constructed while prioritizing its positive effect on the environment
- Its design is all about improving the occupants’ quality of life
These buildings are all about preserving and saving natural resources, reducing the dire culprits of climate change, and helping us understand different sustainable living strategies.
Green buildings are also more affordable since they use:
- Less energy
- Less water
- Fewer wastage tactics
These reduce the detrimental impacts on the earth’s natural resources. Not to forget, green buildings encourage better daylight utilization and healthier indoor air quality, making eco-living happier and healthier.
Saving Water Through Green Buildings
Thanks to the steep rise in popularity, more and more buildings are popping up globally. This is leading to a massive increase in commercial, residential, and industrial water usage, which is already scarce in supply. Fortunately, green buildings integrate water-efficient technologies in their design, construction, and living strategies, making it easier for us to manage wastage and live healthily.
A conventional building has multiple water demands. You’ll need the resources to shower, wash dishes, flush toilets, water your garden, clean your home, and more. Many utilize the municipality’s water supply which is already scarcely available.
With increased demands and limited fresh water supply, there are challenges in treating wastewater, leading to pollution of water bodies and harm to all living beings, including us.
Here is where green buildings come in. Their eco-friendly construction and water-efficient living conditions make it easy to:
- Manage water consumption
- Make living conditions more efficient and sustainable.
- Improve indoor air quality
- Reduce energy consumption
- Utilize non-toxic home designs for an overall healthier lifestyle
Remember that these buildings do not limit your water usage but encourage you to use all natural resources wisely. There are various methods that green buildings use to conserve, such as:
- Rainwater harvesting
- Water reuse and recycling
- Water sensors, etc.
Each of these efficient methods has proven helpful in conserving more fresh water in green buildings.
Green Buildings Features That Help Save Water
Green buildings encourage us to save water through their technologically-advanced infrastructures. They include:
Water submetering offers many benefits for green building occupants. These water meters provide an accurate reading of water usage. The device also helps to:
- Detect leaks that lead to excess water usage
- Bill tenants for exact water usage, encouraging them to consume water affordably
- Makes water bills more accurate and encourages less water usage
- Alerts tenants of wasteful water consumption
2. Water-Efficient Plumbing Fixtures
Highly-efficient plumbing fixtures provide a wide range of benefits, especially for green building occupants. They can help:
- Save water for future consumption
- Reduce water wastage
- Reduce water and energy bills (for heating and treating water)
- Maintain a necessary water supply throughout the green building
According to the US EPA, the U.S. would save over three trillion gallons of water annually, estimated to be 18 billion dollars yearly, if all homes had efficient plumbing fixtures.
Efficient plumbing fixtures improve many water-related usage and appliances, such as:
High-efficiency faucets can reduce the excess water flow rate to 1.5 gallons (6.8 liters) per minute (or GPM), which is lesser than the 2.5 GPM (11.4 liters) rate of regular taps.
Experts also suggest flow restrictors for more efficient water usage in these green buildings.
Every pre-1994 installed toilet loses over 1.6 gallons (7.3 liters) of water per flush. Luckily, the modern EPA standard 1.28-gallon (5.8-liter) models reduce this wastage, making green building toilers more water-efficient and sustainable.
Since toilets are responsible for consuming around 30% of a home’s water supply, high-efficient toilets are a must.
In the U.S, the average thrower lasts a little over eight minutes during which it uses 17.2 gallons (or 65 liters) of water. Green buildings have low-flow shower heads that lower the water consumption by 70% while maintaining good water pressure that enhances your showering experience.
According to National Geographic, xeriscaping involves creating a landscape that utilizes minimal water supply and uses the earth’s natural water source to grow plants.
These landscapes help conserve water, especially if you live in a dry climate with scarce rainfall. It provides various benefits, such as:
It Lowers Water Wastage
According to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, landscaping and lawn maintenance consume over 50% of the residential water supply.
Xeriscaping helps tackle this issue by reducing landscape water consumption and encouraging more sustainable irrigation tactics.
Makes Lawn Maintenance More Affordable
Since green building plants and lawns function on xeriscaping, the practice reduces maintenance costs and water utility bills and makes the community save their income and fresh water. Therefore, if you’re an avid gardener, this is an option that might interest you, especially in the long term.
Minimizes Fertilizer Needs
Xeriscaping encourages using organic soil, reducing the need to fertilize your plants with chemical-heavy supplements. Organic soil is healthier, more sustainable, and does not pollute the grounds or harm your plants. Not to mention you’ll be saving a significant amount of money on unnecessarily frequent fertilizing sessions.
Helps To Reduce Pollution
Xeriscaping helps reduce the need to fertilize your land or use energy-heavy landowners to prune the gardens. It is beneficial for green building residents to keep their surroundings green, clean, and beautiful, not to mention full of fresh air. With enough time, the practice can help reduce pollution on a wider scale.
4. Non-Potable Water Usage
Non-potable water supplies are:
- Recycled water
These are not fit for drinking but have various uses in:
- Flushing toilets
- Doing laundry
- Basin water
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also backs non-potable water usage in sustainable green building projects. There are many benefits to using potable water, such as:
It Helps Residents Reuse Water
Green building tenants can treat and reuse their non-potable water supplies for various tasks. The practice helps conserve water by allowing the resource to be re-utilized by a large number of people. As a result, not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but your utility bill as well.
Residents Have More Water Supply Control
Green building residents do not need to worry about water shortage from the municipal water supply, thanks to non-potable water usage.
Moreover, communal water ownership is more affordable in the long run.
Promotes Sustainable Living
Non-potable water usage encourages more people to learn about water treatment, reuse, and the benefits of using treated water for daily non-consumption purposes.
These are a handful of the many ways green buildings encourage sustainable living and using fresh water only when and where it is necessary. While traditional facilities offer their residents a place to stay, green buildings aim to help their tenants live a healthier and more environmentally conscious life and save fresh water.
These buildings’ designs and architectures can vary according to their area’s natural resources, green projects, etc.
How To Increase Water Efficiency in Green Buildings
While green buildings are made to help conserve fresh water, energy, and a healthy lifestyle, there are many ways its tenants can work together to uphold its aims.
1. Keep an Eye on Plumbing Maintenance
As a responsible green building resident, keep a stern eye out for possible leakage, electronic issues with the water heater, and water supply problems.
By doing so, you can maintain sustainable living without wasting water from un-fixed leakages, paying heavy energy bills for faulty heaters, or facing water supply issues at home.
2. Maintain a Family Goal To Maintain Water
If you live in a green building with your family, try to plan out a water-efficient living schedule. The plan can include:
- The number of times you can wash dishes
- Pre-scheduled bathing times to save water
- Monthly water supply checks
- Re-recycling and re-suing non-potable water
- Maintaining proper drinking water at home etc.
Doing any of these can help you live a healthier, happier life with your family!
3. Opt Plants That Need Less Water
One way to save water while owning plants is opting for greenery that consumes less water. An excellent example are succulents like:
- Aloe vera
And flowering plants such as:
All require infrequent watering sessions in order to grow and thrive. These houseplants are a go-to option for people living in hotter climates, making them perfect for green buildings!
4. Practice Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting provides a wide range of benefits. The practice helps conserve water and use it for various household chores. It reduces the burden on freshwater demand, which is already scarce in supply.
Some benefits of rainwater harvesting are:
- Optimizes water and electricity bills
- Easy-to-use technology for water conservation
- Improves the quality and quantity of groundwater
- It is a massive boost to xeriscaping irrigation
These are some of the most basic ways every green building tenant can help conserve water through their responsible water usage.
Benefits of Saving Fresh Water
The benefits of saving water are simple, efficient, and will undoubtedly lead to a brighter, greener future. The practice helps conserve freshwater availability and makes it easier for people to access high-quality drinking water.
It has already helped reduce the stress on water treatment plants that often dump untreated water in rivers and drains. Moreover, it has successfully made life more affordable in green buildings by saving water and lowering energy bills.
All in all, saving fresh water has domestic, industrial, and global benefits.
Green buildings play a crucial role in saving 2% of the global freshwater resources. Thanks to their technologically advanced water-efficient architecture and design, they have become a go-to option for anyone willing to help the global movement of saving consumable water for a brighter future.
Green buildings are the residential answer to helping more global areas contribute to helping conserve water, re-use non-potable water, and keep an eye out for water wastage.
- House Beautiful: 11 Plants That Don’t Need Water – Easy Waterless Plants to Grow
- Recode: Multi-benefits of Onsite Non-potable Water Systems
- PM Engineer: The Key Benefit of Non-Potable Water Piping Systems
- Frontsteps: 6 Benefits of Xeriscaping Your Community
- ABC Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, Cooling and Electric: The Benefits of Installing High Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures
- National Exemption Service: Water Submetering – Top 5 Financial Benefits of Submetering Real Estate
- New York Housing Association, Inc.: Benefits of Water Submetering
- Quora: What is the difference between a green building and a normal building?
- World Green Building Council: What is green building?
- Chicago Faucets: 5 Ways to Increase Water Efficiency in Green Buildings
- One Energy System: How to Increase Water Efficiency in Green Buildings?
- U.S. Green Building Council: Green Building 101: How does water efficiency impact a building?
- Go Smart Bricks: The Concept Of Water Efficiency In Green Buildings
- Sunrise Specialty: How Much Water Does A Toilet Use? (Saving Tips)