Water offers a special challenge for green architects to study in their construction designs. Its life giving powers and importance to living means that it must be carefully sustained and utilized, such that this God given resource may never be wasted.
Tips on Water sustainability for green architects
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. Green architects need to design their buildings in such a manner that they uphold this tenet.
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.
Water can also be harvested from these sources which are available in plenty such as sea water, which is great for coastal communities. Some developed countries are actually harvesting and purifying sea water for use in their communities. This process involves a desalination process which separates drinkable water from impurities. The caveat to this though is the fact that though the water resources may be plenty, the actual desalination process is quite energy intensive, and requires reliable energy sources to undertake this. With this in mind, harvesting sea water often becomes the recluse of wealthy nations.
Green Architects must consider water sources that are sustainable
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.Therefore planners and green architects need to seriously consider the means of maintaining good levels of water supply within any proposed project.
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.
Green architects and planners need to seek for the most sustainable use of water in the planning and design for urban communities.
The focus should be for rationalized water usage within these built developments, such that as a scarce resource, it is well conserved to serve the entire communities needs.All too often, a planned water source may be adequate for a development at the point of its occupation. A good urban plan may have been prepared for a twenty year cycle or so, based on prevailing user needs and available economic constraints. It is expected that after that time period, the growth of the urban development shall have reached a point where its physical planning would require to be overhauled. This notwithstanding, sometimes rapid population growth of the urban center or facility outstrips the pace of its planning timeframe, resulting in lopsided unsupported growth. For example, a water system that was planned for only a certain population for a 20 year plan may need to be overhauled in only ten years if the pace of population growth is greater than what was initially forecasted.
- 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.
- Management of clean water supply
- Management of water that is naturally incident from rainfall or flowing from existing water bodies
Green Architects Must Adequately Provide For Water Sustainability In Planning And Detail
Facilities which will be able to attain proper management of these areas of water resource management can be said to have achieved sustainability with regards to water supply and consumption. One must consider these items with regard to planning of any development. The best urban developments make proper spatial allocations for these elements in designs by green architects.