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Water-Related News

Blue is the New Green: Water Plays a Role in Green Construction

At the University of South Florida in Tampa, civil and environmental engineering professor Daniel Yeh has researched water treatment, wastewater reuse and recovery, bioenergy and desalination. But he sees many of the solutions to Florida's water woes as far simpler. Yeh, who serves on the U.S. Green Building Council's water-efficiency advisory group, talked with Florida Trend about making water a more important part of green building.

Florida Trend: Many people associate green building with energy, but you point out green buildings can have an even more dramatic an impact on water. How so?

Daniel Yeh: My approach has always been to first identify and pursue the low-hanging fruit. So what's the simplest thing you can do? It's harvesting rainwater. Every building should consider harvesting rainwater. Almost half of the drinking water from the municipalities goes on our grass, and we can offset that. Rainwater can irrigate landscaping and flush toilets, which is the largest water-use indoors.

FT: After the toilets and the landscaping, another big water hog is cooling towers. How much water could a business save by recycling condensate back into the towers, and how hard is that to do? ...