Protecting the environment includes water conservation, an area of green commitment that can involve a vast amount of planning – from careful site development to installation of efficient washroom fixtures. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, 53 percent of U.S. community water supplies can be attributed to nonresidential water usage – with more than 70 percent of this being delivered to commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities. Like other natural resources, the fresh water supply is often misused, wasted, and, therefore, depleted unnecessarily. Water conservation can be implemented in a number of ways including:
• Minimize stormwater runoff by maintaining natural water/rainwater flows and/or place gardens on building rooftops.
• Collect and reuse stormwater (often referred to as graywater) for non-potable uses such as toilet and urinal flushing, as well as for custodial purposes when/where codes allow.
• Use high-efficiency irrigation systems, collected stormwater for irrigation, and/or native plants and vegetation in landscaping to keep irrigation needs to a minimum.
• Install high-efficiency fixtures such as touch-free, infrared sensor-operated faucets and flushometers.
• Pressure-assisted toilets with low-volume capacity (such as 1.6 gallons per flush) should be specified for new construction, modernization, or upgrade for commercial restrooms.
• Fix leaks. Although leaks may seem like a small problem, left unattended even the smallest leak can add up to significant waste.
Continue Article >> Step 5) Implement Sustainable Design Principles
SOURCES: Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Rating System 2.0; “Without Reservations,” by Susan Kennedy, January 2001 Buildings magazine.