The last post in the Living Building Challenge series was about the importance of Place in sustainability, and our need to design buildings and landscapes that are in sync with the natural environment around us.
Today we are going to look at Water.
With the intent of "(realigning) how people use water" and "(redefining) waste in the built environment, the Water Petal seeks to cause us to respect water as a precious resource.
Water scarcity, particularly potable water, is becoming a serious issue globally. Many countries face severe shortages, compromised water quality, unsustainable water use patterns and the effects of man-made water crises.
The LBC seeks to develop projects that harvest a water supply sufficient for the needs of a given population and are configured to the carrying capacity of the site. Respect for the natural hydrology of the site and neighboring lands is a must. One of the ways this can be achieved is through the use, purification and re-use of water on site.
Unfortunately, many health, land use and building code regulations prevent such practices. Many such regulations are the result of poor water management and safeguarding practices of the past. To reach ideal water harvesting and use standards will mean challenging some of these regulations in an appropriate manner and developing new site-specific strategies.
Imperative 5: Net-Positive Water
A project's water system must work in harmony with the natural water flows of the site and its surroundings.
Water and stormwater discharge, including grey and black water, must be treated on site and be managed through either reuse, a closed-loop system or infiltration.
Water of course is one of the most vital keys to life. We are dependent on a healthy water supply.
Single-family homes should be designed and built to use both the structure and the site to capture and purify rainwater to meet the needs of the household and the irrigation needs of our landscaping and on-site food production system.
In order to accomplish this, a home must be designed and built to maximize our water supply through the use of efficient fixtures and systems that use and lose less water, and recycle grey and black water for re-use in appropriate ways.
Homes that are truly sustainable and self-sufficient are water independent.
Quotations and information cited comes from the Living Building Challenge 3.1. To learn more or download a copy of the Living Building Challenge, visit the International Living Future Institute. Neither Joshua Stewart nor JDS Design Studio is a paid advocate of the Living Building Challenge nor a member of the LBC Ambassador Network. As a residential design firm the purpose of creating this blog series is to inform, educate and advocate for a sustainable approach to designing and building fully self-sufficient homes and communities.