Water Efficiency

Photo: Ospr3yy. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.

OVERVIEW

For years, the U.S. has taken water for granted. Low prices and a lack of regulation have led to massive waste, poor infrastructure, and the illusion that we have an endless supply.

But that mindset is changing. We’ve seen drought in the Southwest U.S., water rationing in California, dwindling aquifers, and contaminated water supplies. These problems are not going to be solved by drilling deeper wells.

Water-saving appliances, improved wastewater treatment, and higher performance goals can all mitigate the damage. Here you’ll find resources on products and strategies you need to achieve these goals.

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  • The Embodied Energy of Tap Water

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    A third of the annual energy bill paid by a municipality goes toward water treatment. Here’s why clean water uses so much energy.

  • The Surprising Connection Between Water Conservation and Deadly Infections

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    Legionella and other pathogens can proliferate in pipes and low-flow fixtures, threatening the health of vulnerable people.

  • Water Budgets: A Holistic Look at Efficiency

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    Developing a water budget for a building can identify opportunities for savings that might otherwise go unnoticed.

  • Sharing the Skyline with Birds

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    Buildings are major killers of birds, but thoughtful design can help.

  • Invasive Plants

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    In the quest for a balanced ecosystem it is important to choose native species and avoid invasive plants. Invasive species can put a strain on water usage and can take space and resources away from native plants.

  • Power Flushing With Pressure-Assist Toilets

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    Many of today's best-performing low-flow toilets enhance their flush with air pressure to force water into the bowl at high speed.

  • Combined Sewer Overflow

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    Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) occur in municipalities with older wastewater systems that carry both sanitary wastewater and stormwater; eliminating CSOs involves investment in wastewater infrastructure and reducing stormwater flows.

  • Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater

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    Constructed wetlands, when used to treat wastewater, can keep nitrogen and phosphorous from the water supply and cut costs by controlling the size of drainfields.

  • Graywater Collection and Use

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    If properly stored and separated from potable water, graywater collected from sinks, showers, and clothes washers can be used to irrigate landscaping.