In a recent post about smarter, eco-conscious living, Celsias mentioned that one way to take some strain away from the environment is to use less water. Today, Noelle Hirsch expounds upon that idea, and takes it a step further. Instead of leaving it to consumers to choose to use less water, why not build homes and other buildings so that they naturally conserve water? By eliminating waste through green building practices, homeowners can save water, save money and save natural resources. You can read more about green building practices here.
Putting Construction Management on the Frontlines Fighting the Water Crisis
In recent years, more contractors and construction companies are realizing that they hold the power to significantly reduce their carbon footprint through responsible building practices that utilize energy-efficient lighting, plumbing and heating appliances. Now you can add one more issue to the green construction movement: water conservation.
In another fifteen years, widespread reconstructive projects will need to take place due to the state of disrepair of water transportation infrastructures nationwide. In 2007, a U.S. News article relayed the astronomical fiscal needs of the U.S. water system, which is in a more or less constant state of disrepair. In fact, The American Water Works Association estimates that between 250 and 300,000 claims are made annually.In addition, water conservation groups, environmentalists, utilities, and governmental groups agree that in order to maintain the current water system, between $250 and $500 billion will be spent on repairs.
Not only that, rising water prices will create value for water conservation strategies that are already available today. The majority of residents may not want those sustainable technologies now – such as low-flush toilets and automatic faucets – but forward-thinking construction managers can save Americans a lot of money and reduce carbon emissions by using green building practices now, in preparation for the future.
With the advances that have taken place since 2007, a large portion of that bill may be expunged by strategic planning. For example, the city of Philadelphia has demonstrated some of the significant savings that can be gleaned from economical approaches to water infrastructure. Last year, the city faced a crisis in its storm water drainage system. Rather than repairing the defunct system, the city water department wisely chose to invest $2.4 billion over 25 years in the form of porous concrete, rooftop gardens, and other ways to soak up rainwater. This strategy will undermine the need for the old drainage system altogether, rendering costly repairs completely unnecessary. Similar sustainable adjustments may be applicable in other parts of the country.
Regardless of creative problem-solving, significant costs are bound to accrue, and someone will need to pay for them. Already, some citywide programs have been implemented, which have risen the price of water by as much as 50% to foot the infrastructure repair bill. Although affluent residents will not be hurt by the additional $200 each year, families already struggling to eke out a living will be hard pressed to find the money.
The difference can be made up, easily, by new, green water technology. California has already subsidized many of the low-flush toilets and motion-sensor faucets on the market, in order to give construction firms incentive to integrate water-conserving technologies into new buildings and projects. Yet many states may not have the correct measures in place to give water conservation systems a financial advantage over old systems. Nonetheless, even if some initial costs fall on construction firms, they will be slight in comparison to the long-term benefits. If construction managers take the long view, future residents will be pleasantly surprised with their ability to handle a spike in water pricing over the next decade.