Since water is one of the world’s most vital natural resources and buildings are major users of our water supply, all new and retrofit building projects should include achieving better water efficiency as a goal. The good news is that significant water efficiency improvements in building practices are readily achievable, beginning with the LEED certification process.
As most water pros know, LEED is a point-based system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, with points awarded for meeting the specific requirements of credits in each of the categories. LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale, and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. Additionally, bonus credits are available, for addressing innovation in design and regionally specific environmental issues.
LEED‘s Water Efficiency category encourages the use of strategies and technologies that reduce the amount of potable water consumed in buildings. It requires that a building must cut 20% over the baseline and awards further reductions beyond that. Water reduction is typically achieved through more efficient appliances, fixtures and fittings inside and water-wise landscaping outside. Points can also be earned by reducing the use of potable water irrigation by 50%.
Ten points are apportioned among three LEED Water Efficiency credits and one is available as a bonus. Those credits are:
- Credit 1 Water-efficient Landscaping, four points
- Credit 2 Innovative Wastewater Technologies, two point
- Credit 3 Water Use Reduction, four points
- Credit 1.1 Innovation in Design, one point
Here are some links to websites that can with help you with learn more about LEED and how you can help make buildings more energy efficient.
- LEED Professional Credentials and Exams
- Pump Products to assist in getting LEED certified
- Earning Water Efficiency Credits
- Getting your building project ‘green-ified’ with LEED
- Energy Efficient Lanscape Irrigation Solutions
- How Older Buildings Can Go Green by Taking the LEED
- IAPMO Water Usage Calculator (bottom of page and save to computer)
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, how many more billions of gallons of water do Americans extract than they return to the natural water system each year?
Go to our twitter account to find the answer: http://twitter.com/ITTH2OPros