water saving

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Dry Is the New Normal

The Southwest U.S. has gotten drier and more prone to droughts

Posted on Mar 24 2016 by Andreas Franz Prein

A few large weather systems make all the difference between a wet and a dry year in the Southwest. Coming during the winter and spring, they account for the bulk of the rain and snow the region receives.

My colleagues and I were intrigued by the relationship between weather systems and rain and snowfall in the contiguous United States. We used historic weather data from the period 1979 to 2014 to find a representative set of weather types.


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Image Credits:

  1. Deepti Hari / CC / Flickr

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Drought Forces Tough Choices in the West

A severe water shortage prompts more stringent regulations, and encourages a range of conservation strategies

Posted on Sep 5 2014 by Scott Gibson

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Tim McCabe / U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Can Switching to a Dual-Flush Toilet Save Heat?

The water that sits in your toilet tank robs space heat from your home during the winter — but is it a little bit of heat or a lot of heat?

Posted on Oct 2 2012 by Erik North

First off, my wife just joked that I used a photo of a “male bathroom”: seat up and two rolls of toilet paper.

Regarding the heat savings mentioned in the headline, we'll see... I haven't done the math yet. But it is a minor claim occasionally made alongside the claim that these toilets save water.


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Image Credits:

  1. Erik North

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Making the Case for Resilient Design

Because of climate change and the risk of terrorism, our homes and communities should be designed to be resilient to extended loss of power, interruptions in heating and transportation fuel, and shortages of water

Posted on Dec 14 2011 by Alex Wilson

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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