water use

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

Posted on May 05,2015 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.

The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las Vegas

Posted on May 05,2015 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.

In Defense of the Lawn

Posted on May 05,2015 by user-756436 in irrigation

Environmentalists often bad-mouth lawns. The anti-lawn stance was summed up in a recent essay by Kerry Trueman, who wrote, “The typical American lawn is pretty much an unmitigated environmental disaster.”

Can Swimming Pools Be Green?

Posted on May 05,2015 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.

Rating the Greenness of Gardens

Posted on May 05,2015 by user-756436 in Green Building News

A proposed point system for rating the sustainability of landscape plans

NEW YORK, NY — Efforts are underway to create a system to rate the sustainability of gardens and landscaping plans. Three organizations — the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden — have joined forces to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable landscape designs.

Green Paint Sets the Scene

Posted on May 05,2015 by user-756436 in desert

As the plane descends into the Las Vegas airport, every arriving visitor notices the stark contrast between the desert environment of southern Nevada and the modern city of swimming pools and irrigated shrubbery. After arriving today, I took the shuttle bus to the Bally Hotel, across the street from the Bellagio. The Bellagio overlooks an 8-acre artificial lake — in essence, the largest swimming pool in town, in a town known for its large pools — where a few lonely ducks swim in the chlorinated water.

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