Miami Green Homes


Water issues – Part I
September 4, 2009, 9:56 am
Filed under: Water Efficiency

Driving to the office this morning, the radio dial fell back to NPR. A short story about the draught in California was on and I could not help to remember some of the conversations I had of recent.
With all the focus an energy savings issue and in particular the reduction on dependency on fossil fuel, the real issue to me comes back to the management of water. The days of considering the bottling of spring water for profit as a ridiculous endeavor are long gone and even basic water conservation has become part of everyday life, certainly in South Florida.

So it is fuel, not water that we need for survival of the species. With the rollercoaster ride of the price of a barrel of crude oil and the obvious implications on continuous reliance on this outdated source for fuel and energy, alternative energy sources are being developed at an increasing pace and we all should see a substantial number of them taking over the production of our daily convenience.
Water use should be at the forefront of our conservation and preservation efforts. Energy use and construction as well as innovation of alternatives are progressing fast. The change is near. The same cannot be stated for water. It is time again for a revolution, the Water revolution.
The United States, generally being behind in a global effort when it comes to elements that do not have in immediate instant gratification or monetary gain, have also recognized this trend.

The EPA just about a year ago launched their Water Sense program to bring awareness to all. Following the success of the Energy Star program, Water Sense will enable the consumer to make intelligent water savings decisions. It then just remains to the same consumer to implement them…

The next area of focus than is a general attitude adjustment. Landscaping remain the largest area of water use for residential applications, this was pointed out again in the program this morning, and is a know fact for anyone working in the South Florida residential market. “Traditional” lawn design uses about 70% of the monthly water bill… quite hefty. Change your design, change your perception and preserve water. And did I mention that you also no longer need the fossil fuel powered machinery to cut and maintain the grass?? In a recent show of hands in my class, all but two students clearly preferred the aesthetics of a Xeriscaped home versus and “lawn with two palm trees” design. Good news for our generation. The next one clearly gets it.

It remain interesting to me that the all so popular USGBC LEED guide has no prerequisite in its Water Efficiency category. This is certainly an area that can improve, and must improve.
As the only species that adapts the environment faster than we could adapt to it, the question than becomes;

What next?

May the future hold a water war scenario such as idealistic films, like Mad Max? chasing and killing for a sip of pure H2O? Or will it be the Waterworld set up that will be in store for us, a flooded planet ruined by the disrespect that we exhibit as a species. Either way, the US has to learn.
We all have to learn. NOW!

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