Water Related Questions

Many people think that water will be the "oil" of the twenty-first century, the defining resource for civilization in many locations, energy use for water supply, and treatment accounts for more than 10 percent of building energy use. Therefore, questions about water are quite important to integrated building design.

1 Have we considered how to reduce, reuse, or recharge rainwater falling on the building? Do we have the budget for dual-plumbing systems, so that rainwater can be reused in the building?

2 Will the local jurisdiction allow graywater or rainwater to be reused for landscape irrigation and/or building water uses such as toilet flushing, cooling tower makeup water, parking lot washing, and so on? If not, can we appeal to their better instincts to begin allowing such systems?

3 Is there enough rainwater on the available roof area for catchment to supply public WCs and urinals for the building? Is the rainfall highly seasonal (as on the West Coast) or more evenly distributed throughout the year?

4 Is there adequate space within the building or on the site for underground or even surface storage of harvested rainwater?

5 Have we set explicit water conservation goals for this project, versus the 1992 Energy Policy Act plumbing fixture requirements (ultra-low-flow fixtures, waterfree urinals, and the like)? Can we reduce water use by 30 percent or more compared with conventional buildings?

6 Are there local more stringent requirements for water conservation, owing to local climate or current drought conditions?

7 Have we established a baseline water use for this building that can be used to evaluate water conservation opportunities?

8 Can we reduce the use of potable water to flush toilets and urinals by at least 50 percent through the use of low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, water-free urinals, and other means?

9 Have we considered the use of native and/or adapted vegetation for the site landscaping? Can we use plantings to create habitat for local wildlife?

10 Have we instructed the landscape architect to reduce water use for the irrigation of this site? By 50 percent? By 100 percent? Is everyone in agreement on a Xeriscape approach to landscaping?

11 If this is a high-rise building, can we use part of the fire sprinkler onsite storage tank also for rainwater storage, in this way combining uses and saving money?

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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