Water efficiency will be next big thing for green building

While the green building agenda has been dominated so far by carbon footprints and energy efficiency, water is set to become a much greater issue over the next five years.

This is the conclusion of a study undertaken by US construction giant McGraw-Hill which claims architects, engineers and landlords all believe that a building’s water consumption will soon outstrip other issues on the sustainability agenda such as energy and waste issues.

The news is perhaps unsurprising whilst huge swathes of the southern US suffer from prolonged water sources and energy once again seems more accessible with oil prices still under $70/barrel.

According to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), buildings currently use 20% of the world’s available fresh water.

The industry report concludes that this is good news for the green building sector, offering opportunities for increased use of water efficient practices and products to ‘turn the tide on the water crisis’.

“This study sheds light on the shift in what will define a green building,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Analytics, Alliances & Strategic Initiatives, McGraw-Hill Construction.

“The results are especially telling – the increasing importance of water issues, the business benefits from water-efficient products and processes, and building owner buy-in all point to how critical it will be for the industry to address responsible water practices in the future.”

Sam Bond

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