LEED promotes water-use reduction through resourceful landscaping, wastewater technologies and high-efficiency plumbing design.
A simplified landscaping plan, with drought-tolerant native plants, reduced use of sod, and high-efficiency irrigation (e.g., drip hoses) can be an attractive, cost-effective design. However, many administrators, particularly in university settings, want lush landscaping to enhance the visual impact of a high-profile building. An effective, yet more costly, irrigation strategy is a rainwater or gray-water collection system, such as a cistern.
Water-use reductions of 20 percent or more can be achieved by installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, such as low-flow lavatory faucets and toilets, and waterless urinals. However, building owners must understand and comply with maintenance requirements. For those unsure about adopting these new technologies, flexibility can be incorporated into the plumbing design. Although it eliminates any cost savings from simplified plumbing requirements, supply piping can be installed in walls behind waterless urinals to enable change-out in the future if maintenance issues arise.
•12% of U.S. potable water consumption, including 5 billion gallons a day for flushing toilets
• 340 billion gallons of fresh water are withdrawn per day from rivers, streams, and reservoirs to support residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and recreational activities.
• Almost 65% of water taken is discharged back to bodies of water after use.
• Annual water deficiency for the US is 3,700 billion gallons.
• US industries today use 36% less water than in 1950 due to reuse and Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandating water conserving plumbing.
• Water consumption rose 6 fold in the last century – double the rate of population.