Water Conservation Focus of ASHRAE Forum

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff June 5, 2006

With water usage costs rapidly rivaling energy costs in the building industry, water conservation should become a factor in discussions on sustainability.

A forum, “How Can ASHRAE Address Water Conservation in Sustainable Design,” will be held as part of ASHRAE’s 2006 Annual Meeting, June 24-28, Quebec City. The forum will take place from 9:30-10:30 a.m. June 28. It is sponsored by ASHRAE’s technical committee on service water heating.

“Recent initiatives by ASHRAE to address energy performance in buildings have identified gaps for dealing with one of the three largest building costs—water,” Wayne Webster, P.E., chair of the forum, said. “Through this forum, we hope to elicit ideas as to how ASHRAE can address water conservation in buildings.”

Some 0.3% of the world’s water is available to share for agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community and personal needs. While both world population and the demand on freshwater resources are increasing, supply remains constant. Water efficiency is the long-term ethic of conserving water resources through the employment of water-saving technologies, according to Webster.

Some federal and state groups are examining such technologies. For example, the California Urban Water Conservation Council is considering a rebate program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a draft report recommending a framework for a national partnership on water use efficiency.

“ASHRAE has expertise in water areas, such as service water heating, cooling towers and food processing,” Webster noted. “We are interested to hear how we can build on that expertise and contribute to a more sustainable building environment.”

For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/quebeccity .