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Water Conservation for green building

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi
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Water, the gift of nature to mankind, is the lifeline on which living beings survive. Over a period of time, the requirement of water has increased tremendously from simple agricultural and domestic use to industrial processing, air conditioning and recreational activities. The water table is getting depleted with increased drawl by use of pumps. The more use of water has associated problems like generation of waste water and its disposal causing pollution of rivers, etc.

In the green building concept, emphasis has been laid on conservation techniques, waste water treatment and reuse of treated water. Let us examine the methodologies with which this can be achieved, again with the help of common knowledge which all of us possess:

2.1 Landscaping

a. Use re-cycled water for landscaping instead of potable water. Alternatively, equipments which use less water and provide more coverage, captured rain water can be used. Some examples are micro-irrigation, moisture sensors and clock timers, etc.

b. Retain or plant native species which consume less water. These plants are less water consuming and grow rapidly.

c. Install rainwater collecting system on the roof or underground in areas which have sufficient rainfall to make their installation viable.

2.2 Other Water Conserving Methods

a. Water efficient air conditioning where potable water can be replaced with re-cycled water and captured rainwater. More reliance can be placed on air cooled chillers to eliminate cooling towers.

b. Using recycled water or grey water for flushing in domestic use by installing two pipe system and thus reducing dependence on municipal supply.

c. Install on-site waste water treatment system for treating waste water to tertiary standards. On-site treatment reduces costs associated with transportation, energy and chemical use.

e. Design a proper and effective rain water harvesting to charge the underground acquifers.

d. Consider developing wetlands and aquaculture system for waste water treatment where plants, fish and bacterias naturally remove contaminants from waste water. Aerobic and anaerobic waste treatment plants are available in abundance in market.

f. Use water efficient fixtures in toilets, dry fixtures like composting toilet systems and waterless urinals. Shower heads consuming less than 10 LPM, bathroom faucets which are effective with as little as 3.8 LPM, self-closing or electronic sensor faucets are widely available these days and are very effective in reducing the consumption of water closets are the most water consuming devices but use of pressure assisted and dual flush closets can easily reduce the water demand to a great extent. Composting toilets mix human waste with organic material to produce compost which can be used as manure.

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