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A New Approach to Saving Water

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Mar 17, 2016 9:53:16 AM

World Water Day is coming up on March 22.  The international day of observance is meant to bring light to water issues, which is nice in theory, but given the growing threat of droughts, floods, crumbling and toxic infrastructure, and rising sea levels, is water really receiving the attention it justifiably deserves?

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development created World Water Day in 1992 in an effort to set aside one day each year during which we recognize water quality and quantity issues. 

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EPA Disaster: Lessons Learned from Toxic Sludge

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Aug 13, 2015 12:04:54 PM

EPA’s recent reclamation disaster in Colorado shows us why regulation and oversight is so desperately needed.

For the second week in a row, the EPA is making national news. This time, the headlines aren’t touting a progressive policy that will accelerate climate action—rather, they’re exposing an environmentally noxious mistake made by the EPA that will affect lives and livelihoods along the Colorado River Basin.

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Managing Trees During Droughts

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Aug 3, 2015 12:31:00 PM

Trees keep urban landscapes cool, beautify neighborhoods and retain stormwater, but droughts put trees at risk.

THIS INFOGRAPHIC, created by the California Urban Forests Council (CaUFC), provides valuable tips for keeping trees alive and healthy during droughts.

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Water Paean: Abundance at Mariposa Meadows

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Jun 4, 2015 11:02:00 AM

Water’s life-giving force is nowhere more obvious than at our very own Mariposa Meadows.

THE SWOLLEN RIVERS are a telltale sign that spring has come to the Colorado Rockies. As the cold chill of winter reluctantly loosens its grip on the high country, milder weather moves in, resurrecting the landscape’s vitality that had been dormant during the darker months.

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Kitchen and Bathroom Design With Staying Power

Posted by Suchi Rudra

Jun 3, 2015 3:02:00 PM

Truly green kitchens and baths include design elements that will stand the test of time. These projects should age in place along with their owners, while at the same time optimizing energy use and water efficiency.

HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE both sustainability and design that can weather ever-changing trends in a kitchen or bathroom? It’s not easy, and it also depends on whether you’re designing a remodel or a new construction project.

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Water Wars: EPA Rule Front and Center

Posted by Sara Gutterman

May 21, 2015 8:23:32 AM

EPA’s Waters of the United States rule on the regulation of water pollution is creating polarity—and some unlikely allies.

For decades, farmers, businesses, developers, environmental groups, and elected officials have been confused by the scope of federal jurisdiction over the types of water bodies protected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act, which ensures the safety of drinking water.   To clarify its authority over water pollution control, the EPA proposed a controversial and widely criticized rule last year that would prevent the pollution of streams, tributaries, and wetlands that feed water sources.

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Drought Dilemma Challenges Unlimited Growth

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Apr 16, 2015 9:09:00 AM

California’s drought is putting the concept of unlimited growth under severe scrutiny, and for good reasons. 

When it comes to water, California is running out of options—and time. Suffering through its fourth year of excruciating drought...the state’s snow pack is at an all-time low... Governor Brown has issued unprecedented water restrictions...surface and ground water is quickly drying up...and crop and pasture losses are escalating.

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Managing Stormwater

Posted by Juliet Grable

Mar 16, 2015 1:00:48 PM

These eco-sensitive strategies help keep pollutants out of streams and lakes, replenish groundwater and green the built environment.

NATURAL LANDSCAPES naturally slow the movement of stormwater, and capture and filter some of it as it percolates back into the groundwater supply. But the built environment is dominated by impervious surfaces. Paved surfaces, roofs and building façades change the movement of water over the landscape and increase the volume, speed and temperature of the runoff. Rushing stormwater picks up pollutants, fertilizers and pesticides and can also cause flooding and erosion.

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Graywater Reuse

Posted by Juliet Grable

Mar 12, 2015 7:14:00 PM

Now that codes are finally getting friendlier, it’s time to start incorporating graywater recycling into landscape plans.

GRAYWATER IS USED household water that has not come into contact with toilet wastewater. It represents two-thirds of a typical household’s indoor water budget. Reusing graywater to irrigate landscaping keeps it onsite and conserves potable water, easing the burden on both water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, state regulations have made legal use of graywater difficult, if not impossible—although that is changing.

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Water Conservation: Putting It All Together

Posted by Juliet Grable

Mar 10, 2015 11:14:29 AM

The water crisis will prompt us not only to rethink our approach to landscaping, but how we treat, use and recycle water inside our homes.

States that already experience high per capita water use will feel the crunch as their populations grow.

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The New Water Scoring System

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 19, 2015 1:52:00 PM

I spent a few days this week at the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) conference in San Diego. During the show, I had a conversation with a friend, who is in charge of sustainability for one of the nation’s top production builders.

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ICC and ASABE Announce New Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler Standard

Posted by ICC

Nov 4, 2014 11:42:47 AM

The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) announce the release of a new ANSI consensus standard to classify sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components.

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Frontlines of Climate Change: Mass Extinction

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 22, 2014 3:50:10 PM

To quote American nature writer Kenneth Brower, “A living planet is a rare thing, perhaps the rarest thing in the universe, and a very tenuous experiment at best.” A living planet is comprised of complex ecosystems that nourish myriad species, each one interdependent, relying on the others to play their role to such perfection that only exists in nature.

When ecosystems fall out of balance, chaos ensues. The cycle of life is interrupted, and species perish. Without sustainable natural systems, there is no provision for communities, no sustenance for societies, no nourishment for economies.

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