Buildings and their operation consume 47 billion gallons of water per day. Buildings use water for plumbing, cleaning, irrigation of landscape and other uses. The increasing use of water strains water systems in many parts of the country that face chronic water shortages.
Water usage also impacts energy usage; it takes a lot of power to treat, transport and heat water. Each year, it’s estimated that it costs water systems $4 billion on electricity to treat and transport their water supply.
The building sector has made enormous strides in making buildings more water-efficient. Plumbing codes provide a roadmap for smarter use of water. Water-efficient appliances help save water as well. The federal government should ensure that policies, standards and incentives for making buildings consume less energy also support reducing water usage.