Water offers a interesting challenges for green architects designing sustainable buildings to regard in their building design process. Its life giving abilities and importance to living means that it must be carefully nurtured and applied, such that this God given resource may not be destroyed.
Water Conservation In Sustainable Buildings
Since that water is abundantly available in our lakes and seas, the importance of water conservation in buildings may be seem absurd. However one needs to keep in mind that water that is potable and immediately utilizable by man for his day to day activities, be it in the home or the workplace, is not in endless quantity. Thus good, clean and usable water is not easy to get all the time and must be conserved. Sea water and water that is not from fresh water sources has a high saline content and impurities that make it unsuitable for man’s consumption or for use in many day to day activities such as cooking and domestic purposes. It may be useful for other domestic non-potable sources, but also only if it is available.
Some of the world’s leading economies today are able to harness the unending resources offered by the oceans of the earth to provide their water supply within their communities. This is an astounding undertaking that makes use of the process of desalination and distillation to provide water resources that are potable and suitable for man’s general consumption. The downside of this mode of harnessing the vast water resources that are available is that this process is extremely energy intensive, and without reliable intensive power supply, this may not be a viable option. In addition, it is only feasible when the water being so produced shall be consumed in relative proximity to its source without the need for transporting it to a distant location. That may be an interesting quandary for the green architect or planner when planning a project at macro scale.
Water Resources That Are Potable Must Be Harnessed For Sustainable Buildings
That being said, it is apparent that water of the kind that is potable and suitable for man’s consumption is a limited resource, especially in the context of urbanization and needs of the world’s urban populace. Quite a few of the world’s urban centers are situated far from fresh water bodies, many in land-locked areas. Due to this, it is apparent that inasmuch as water may be in plenty globally, there exists a major limitation as regards the quantity of water available for the needs of such urban centers. In some places for example, it is intriguing to hear complaints regarding water supply to a town, yet there may exist a lake adjacent to the town where water may have been harvested using modern solutions. In essence, this solution becomes untenable when the source of water is too distant from the point of use, i.e. the urban center or development.
Sustainable Buildings Are The Future Of Urbanization
Therefore it is important that in the wake of urbanization, it is important that green architects and planners must ensure during design that water supply to whatever urban development is guaranteed and in amounts that are plentiful enough to accommodate rapid growth of population. It becomes vital that water sources are properly identified and tapped into, even though they may not be sufficient to support human population beyond certain limits.Planning for water resources can be a tricky undertaking, as it involves forecasting the needs for a certain population for a period of time. This can be challenging in that if the parameters change, i.e. if the population grows faster than was planned for, or the water resources were to diminish for whatever reason, the entire plan can go haywire. It is vital to plan for posterity to avoid a water source that was previously adequate for a given population becoming inadequate and obsolete within a very short time span.
Facilities require good provision of infrastructure and services, one of which is the whole area of water provision. Water management can be broken down into several salient areas.
- Dealing with the management of clean water supplied to a building
- Management of waste water and sewerage·
- Natural water control and management from natural sources of water
Sustainable building design calls for responsible management of water resources within the context of the built environment. Green architects must therefore make plans to incorporate these steps of water management within their sustainable buildings.