Several programs have shown demonstrable, proactive thinking in their approach to maximizing water and energy conservation by seeing the two goals as interdependent. Here are three of the most notable for creating a new standard of best practices.
A new study has found that homes that meet the state of Washington’s green building standard use up to 40 percent less electricity than conventional homes, saving residents more than $500 a year on utility bills and slashing each home’s annual carbon emissions by nearly half a ton.
That’s the energy-savings equivalent of installing more than 13 solar panels, operating a 12 watt LED light continuously for 44 years, driving an electric vehicle over 15,000 miles or charging an iPhone 6 more than half a million times.
Green building entails more than just using eco-friendly construction materials or improving energy efficiency. Increasingly, it’s also encompassing water usage. In fact, it’s now possible to build a certified water-wise house or multifamily unit from the ground up.
In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established criteria for WaterSense Labeled Homes. These criteria apply not only to single-family homes and townhomes, but also to residential units in buildings that are no taller than three stories. These units can be in mixed-used buildings as well, provided the residential units have their own separate heating, cooling and hot-water systems.