When McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, set about constructing its new Engineering Technology Building, it used the latest state-of-the-art technology not only to achieve U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, but also to create a living laboratory to train students on the building systems of the future. One of the components is a rainwater harvesting system that collects, filters and disinfects rainwater for non-potable and potable use in the building.
First-of-its-kind system treats rainwater for potable reuse
Five years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched WaterSense, a volunteer partnership program that promotes water efficiency to protect the nation’s water supply. Targeting manufacturers and consumers alike, the program has had an impact on the way Americans view water use. Leslie Streicher, associate editor of Water Quality Products, checked in with program leader Veronica Blette to learn about the motivation behind our changing water culture and what water efficiency means today.
A few weeks ago, the local electric utility visited my apartment building to give the residents free efficiency upgrades. The focus was not solely energy, however—in addition to replacing all of the building’s standard light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, the company installed free water-efficient faucets and showerheads in each unit.
Over the years, the term “environmentalism” has morphed through various phases and subcategories, creating a whole new paradigm that confuses most of the general population. To the average person, terms such as environmentalism, “environmentally friendly,” “sustainable” and “green” seem to be used interchangeably. The director of the Green Business League, Michael Richmond, described the muddled understanding of these terms as “that ugly green color that we made in kindergarten when we slurred all the colors into one big blob.”
Sorting through environmental terminology
Have you taken advantage of energy efficiency-related discounts and rebates on appliances? You can find incentives in your region by visiting www.energysavers.gov/financial/.
The state of Illinois recently offered a one-day program offering a 15% point-of-sale rebate to consumers replacing old appliances with Energy Star-qualified models. The rebate program generated more than $25 million in sales and resulted in the sale of more than 27,000 energy-efficient appliances in the state.
Energy Star program offers tools and incentives to save energy and money
Achieving water efficiency in the home has just gotten easier with the release of new WaterSense-labeled showerheads. Stephanie Thornton, marketing and outreach specialist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, discussed the benefits of these new showerheads and offered a roundup of the program’s latest news.
WQP speaks with Stephanie Thornton, marketing and outreach specialist with the U.S. EPA's WaterSense program