Saving water and Sustainable Buildings
Water plays a fundamental role in the development of society as a fundamental requirement for human health, economic growth and the preservation of the environment, since it’s used for domestic and public consumption, in agriculture and livestock, roads communication and in the construction industry. Because of this, one of the Eco Trends in the Construction Cycle is saving water in Sustainable Buildings.
The resource we all must protect
Water is a vital element for human beings. The planet is 71% covered by water, which only 2.5% is fresh water, the same water that we continue to pollute with the disposal of our waste. Despite this, we are still not aware that not all populations have access to it. It’s estimated that 1 of 3 people in the world don’t have access to drinking water to meet their needs.
This water supply situation it’s getting worse by the years. Population growth, the densification of cities and industrial development are some of the causes of the increase in global water consumption and should be of global concern today for everyone, since it’s estimated that by 2025, two thirds of the world population will live under conditions of water stress, that is, water scarcity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person should consume an average of 100 liters of water to meet their consumption and hygiene needs. We are among the 12 countries that are already facing water stress, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and despite this, in Lima, the capital, up to 250 liters of water per person are consumed in some districts according to specialists.
Despite the fact that the National Superintendence of Sanitation Services (SUNASS) has started the campaign to save drinking water at the national level since 2018, we still have a lot to learn and improve in water saving and conservation practices, as it’s a limited renewable resource.
Water conservation under construction:
Is important the issue of saving water and the reuse or recycling of wastewater from homes, businesses and industries is evident. In the case of the construction industry, it’s responsible for approximately 16% of global water consumption, which is why specialists always refer to achieving efficiency in the use of water in the life cycle of buildings.
Sustainable construction seeks to reduce the impact on the water cycle in all the phases and introduce new systems and installations within buildings to achieve efficient use of water.
Sustainable buildings incorporate technologies, strategies and equipment from the design of the project not only for the comfort of users and energy savings, but also for the use and reuse of water; to the planned construction process, in order to significantly reduce the water flow and obtain economic savings in our consumption.
How to save water in the life cycle of buildings?
When we speak about water conservation, we refer to the design characteristics applied to construction, to saving water in the execution stage of the works, to the production of the materials that are used for the construction and during the useful life of the building to its administration and maintenance; in its different phases for the management of the rational use of water in buildings.
The project design
● Design of installations with selected polypropylene (PPR) pipes should be of long useful life, resistant to high pressure, that doesn`t form corrosion and they be welded to avoid future water leaks.
● Implementation of sanitary equipment to reduce the use of water (For example, choosing timed faucets for a lower flow of consumption, toilets with less discharge or a system for reusing water from sinks and showers to be used in flushing toilets).
● Efficiency with respect to the use of water in a construction project has to do with saving drinking water as much as possible and when drinking water can be replaced, take advantage of it through the recycling of wastewater or rainwater:
– Collection of rainwater for toilets, irrigation of gardens or home cleaning or industries.
– Reuse of gray water through a treatment system.
● Inclusion of equipment with control of hours of use, storage and distribution of hot water.
● Reduction of water use through the implementation of technologies such as the use of a technical irrigation system for green areas (drip type).
● With landscaping intervention, the use of drought-tolerant gardening instead of irrigation and adaptation of the plants to the climatic conditions of the area.
● Carrying out a feasibility study of the project to review the contamination of groundwater tables and water flows.
● Choice of eco-materials for sustainable construction.
Execution of the work
● Differentiation of the use of rainwater for irrigation, elimination and control of dust and fresh water for soil compaction works, emptying of civil elements, curing of structure and wet works such as masonry, plastering and plating.
● Use of construction systems that require less water consumption.
● Reuse of water in installation tests to avoid waste in the use of large volumes of water for the commissioning of installations.
● Quality control and management of the water use system to ensure the proper functioning of sanitary devices at their maximum potential, preventing leaks.
Building management and maintenance
● Appropriate choice of appliances with a higher energy rating for users with savings in water consumption.
● Immediate repair leaks or filtrations, to solve possible water losses.