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Water-Conserving Appliances

Saving Water Saves Energy

October 2011
Sponsored by Electrolux

By Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED-AP

Continuing Education

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s Continuing Education article.

Learning Objectives - After reading this article, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and recognize the attributes and features of water-conserving performance in built-in appliances.
  2. Determine the applicable water-saving criteria and standards for built-in appliances.
  3. Investigate and compare the differences between different types of water using appliances.
  4. Specify and design appropriate water saving built-in appliance installations for new construction and renovation projects.

Credits: 1.00 HSW

This course was approved by the GBCI for 1 GBCI CE hour(s) for LEED Credential Maintenance.

This test is no longer available for credit

Green and sustainable building design usually includes an integrated approach to reducing not only energy consumption but also water consumption. The reason for this seems readily apparent; water is an increasingly precious commodity with competition emerging among many communities, cities and states to secure adequate water supplies for their growing populations. But there is also a significant use of energy involved in the movement and processing of water. As a result, architects and engineers involved in green building design are already quite familiar with how to address water consumption in bathroom fixtures such as sinks, toilets and showers, since these are covered in most green building rating systems and codes. However, there is another opportunity to help control water consumption, particularly in residential buildings of all types—multi-family as well as single family. That opportunity rests in the appliances that use water and are designed and specified into kitchen and laundry situations in a manner that efficiently promotes water and energy conservation rather than consumption.

Water Use, Energy and Sustainability

Looking at the big picture, there are several ways to think about water use in this country. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more than 240 million people in the U.S. (approximately 85 percent of households) depend on public water supply systems, requiring the withdrawal of more than 43 billion gallons of water every day. This is quite dramatic when compared to the approximately 15 percent of households that are self supplied (i.e., from private wells) and use only 4 billion gallons of water per day. Historically, nearly 60 percent of the public supply is delivered to households while the rest goes to other buildings or public uses such as street cleaning, swimming pools, etc. Not to be overlooked is the additional water used by electric power plants which typically use 136 billion gallons of fresh water per day across the country during the production of energy from fossil fuels, nuclear or geothermal sources. Generally, water withdrawn for power plants is used for cooling purposes within the plant and obviously would be needed less if less energy were being generated.

Photo courtesy of Electrolux


Originally published in the October 2011 issue of Architectural Record
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