Greening Water Usage

September/October 2007
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2007 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 04, 2007
Some pundits have suggested that the next international conflicts will not be over oil, but over water. Not long ago, an uproar was stirred in our area in the upper Midwest when it was discovered that a large ship from a foreign port was filling its hold (not just its ballast tanks) with water from one of the Great Lakes. (By the way, the Great Lakes make up one-fifth of the earth’s surface fresh-water supply.) Water has always been a trigger for tension when competing groups—such as farmers and ranchers, and now agricultural lands and cities—vie for the water they need for their survival. In the Southwest, one of the fastest-developing parts of our country, the primary aquifers are nearly depleted, and the Colorado River, which supplies most of the water to the region, has been drained to its limits. For those of us concerned with building performance, we cannot create structures that are sustainable without addressing water issues on both the interior and the exterior of these structures. Some new, imaginative strategies are emerging for this work, while some solutions are as old as civilization. Once we recognize our responsibility to conserve water ...

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