water conservation

Is Water Consumption a Class Issue?

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in California

By now, most everyone in the country has heard at least something about California's serious water shortage: the snow pack is paper thin, reservoirs are way down, and the governor has ordered a 25 percent cut in consumption.

California City Pushes Water Conservation

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in California drought

Lancaster has joined many other California communities addressing the state's drought with a measure that beginning in 2015 will require all new houses to have plumbing capable of recycling gray water. The city of 160,000 north of Los Angeles last year approved zoning changes that require developers to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on all new houses. Now, Greentech Media reports, they also will have to incorporate "recycle-ready" plumbing in all new houses.

A New Weapon to Fight Water Waste

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in California

California residents alarmed about wasted water or annoyed with the cavalier attitudes of their neighbors can do more than grumble. With the right smartphone app, they can take their complaints directly to local water agencies for action. The Los Angeles Times reports that officials in several parts of the state have rolled out apps that allow smartphone owners to take pictures of practices that violate water restrictions or report leaks that officials may not know about.

Drought Forces Tough Choices in the West

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in California

In California and other parts of the West, a prolonged drought is severely taxing water supplies and prompting state and local governments to push for strict conservation. Water conservation has been a longstanding part of the green-building credo, but until fairly recently was more of an option than a necessity.

Smart Meters Save Water in San Francisco

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in drought

San Francisco has spent $56 million on smart water meters that allow residential and commercial customers to track how much water they're using, all part of a voluntary effort to reduce water consumption by 10%, according to an article posted at SFGate.

Earthship Hype and Earthship Reality

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in earth-bermed

If you are a hippie from Taos, New Mexico, you know what an earthship is. It’s an off-grid earth-bermed passive solar home with exterior walls made of old tires packed with dirt.

How Much Water Does it Take to Turn on a Light Bulb?

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in electricity generation

In last week's blog I took a look at some of the water conservation features in our new house, but I began the blog by addressing the relationship between water and energy. That got me curious, so I’ve been digging deeper into this water-energy nexus, examining the water-intensity of our different electricity sources.

Saving Water — Saving Energy

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in low-flow

In this weekly blog, I’ve focused a lot of attention on the energy-saving measures at our new home — from the innovative insulation materials we used to the air-source heat pump heating system and our top-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator. What I haven’t said much about are the measures we’ve taken to reduce water use and why these measures save energy as well.

Settling In to My Renovated Cottage

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in green renovation

I’ve been living in my renovated house for about two months now, and, with the exception of my hot water issue and ice on my windows, everything is working pretty well.

Key West Adopts a Green Building Requirement

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in climate change

Key West, Florida, has toughened residential building requirements with a new provision making green certification mandatory. In 1993, the city adopted the Building Permit Allocation System Ordinance that limited development, and in November the City Commission updated the ordinance green building provisions.

Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing? Part 2

Posted on April 25,2015 by ab3 in design

Let's get back to the Pretty Good House concept now. Last month I wrote part 1, called Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing?

Resilient Design: Water in a Drought-Prone Era

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in drought

Periodic drought is something that a significant portion of the U.S. will have to get used to in the coming decades. Climate scientists tell us that while precipitation will increase overall with climate change, certain regions, including the American West, will see increased frequency of drought.

Making the Case for Resilient Design

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in drought

During my six-week bike ride last spring (during my sabbatical), I covered nearly 2,000 miles, most of it over land that hadn't seen a drop of rain since the previous fall; some of those areas — mostly in Texas — still haven't gotten significant precipitation. Farmers in Texas have had to plow their cotton under or slaughter their cattle. If the drought continues through the winter, power plants may have to start shutting down for want of cooling water.

Back from Sabbatical

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in bicycle

Back in March I reported that I would be taking leave from this blog as I embarked on an eight-month sabbatical. With support from the Hanley Award I received last year, I was able to take an unpaid leave from BuildingGreen for some rejuvenation, reflection, research, and writing.

Blog Review: The Green Spotlight

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in blog review

Miriam Landman describes herself as a writer, accredited LEED professional, former reporter/producer for public radio’s Living on Earth, and the founder of M. Landman Communications & Consulting. She also has written Green Homes case studies for GBA, including one about a home made of composite ICFs, and another about a California renovation.

The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las Vegas

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in desert

The American Southwest is running out of water. For a powerful reminder, if any is needed, of why builders in Western states should integrate water-conservation strategies in all new buildings, check out a new book by James Lawrence Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water. Powell’s message is stark: according to scientists’ best predictions, millions of Americans living in the Southwest will face unprecedented water shortages in the next few decades.

Water, Water Everywhere

Posted on April 25,2015 by CarlSeville in gray water

Having little knowledge and less experience in rainwater collection, it was a lucky break for me that the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association or ARCSA national conference was held in my hometown recently. It was so close, in fact, that I was able to ride my bike to the event. I heard several good presentations from pioneers in rainwater collection with very interesting theories that really made me think. Issues that were raised included the value of rainwater vs. gray-water reclamation; one speaker contended that rainwater was a better value.

Waiting for Hot Water

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in Heating and hot water

Over the past several weeks, I’ve written about water conservation as a strategy for saving energy and examined a number of water heating options. This week, we’ll look at the issue of water waste while waiting for hot water and what to do about it.

Can Swimming Pools Be Green?

Posted on April 25,2015 by user-756436 in energy efficiency

Question: What do the following homes have in common?

  • An 11,000-square-foot home in St. Charles, Ill., touted as “one of the greenest homes in the Chicago area.”
  • A 5,100-square-foot home at Live Oaks Estates in San Rafael, Calif., marketed as green by an Eco-Broker.
  • A 6,100-square-foot home in West Vancouver, British Columbia, aiming for LEED for Homes Gold certification.
  • A 3,000-square-foot home on Block Island, R.I., aiming for LEED for Homes Silver certification.

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