The federal government’s Climate Science Special Report was recently in the news as its findings make their way through White House review. Let’s think about why this means that you, the homeowner, should make certain that your next home is dual-plumbed and Recycle Ready!
The Report summarizes the evidence of a warming planet and how it impacts our lives. It found that average temperatures rose 1.1-1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the period spanning from 1951 to 2010, and predicted that:
- Extreme heat events will grow more common in the coming decades
- Future temperature rise is expected to vastly exceed that of the recent past, with an average rise of 2.5 degrees likely
For those of us in California, the recent drought emergency offered a glimpse of how our lives may be impacted in such a climate. Higher temperatures reduce the size of the Sierra snowpack and accelerate the spring melt. This lowers the flow of water from the Sierras to our rivers and reservoirs. Higher temperatures also speed the evaporation of moisture content in soil. A vicious cycle where our mountains produce less water but our plants call for more!
Collectively, we can work through our elected political leadership to implement rules and policies that prepare us for a future that may include higher temperatures and greater water stress. In fact, California is actively doing so, including codes and policies that lead to:
- More energy-efficient homes
- Distributed energy generation with solar on virtually every new rooftop
- Landscapes that use less water for irrigation
- Water-sipping indoor fixtures and appliances
Is this enough? Are there other measures that you, as a new home buyer, can take to make your new home vastly more resilient to future heat and water stress?
The answers are MAYBE and YES.
MAYBE, in the sense that you won’t know until after the event.
MAYBE the weather won’t be as severe as we predict. But that is like saying that you don’t need life insurance because you don’t plan to have an auto accident. Some events are simply out of our control, and acting rationally we want to take reasonable measures to hedge against the risk of such events.
And the second answer is YES, there indeed is an action that you can take that will make your new home vastly more resilient against possible future water stress.
When you dual plumb your home for grey water, you are adding an extra set of drain pipes that will carry the grey water out of the house separately from the nastier “black water” wastes from the toilets and the kitchen sink. Dual plumbing is standard in most commercial buildings, but it is virtually unknown in residential construction, even though it would make incredibly good sense.
Secondly, when you make it Recycle Ready, you are adding the infrastructure – in-ground tanks, electrical circuit etc – that make for an easy and non-invasive future upgrade to on-site water reuse. It is like adding an extra layer of protection to the dual plumbing.
To learn more about Recycle Ready Home Design, you can download a special GUIDEBOOK from our website here.
As the original new home buyer, you have a powerful influence over the design of your new home. Use your influence and insist that your new home be designed Recycle Ready!
Bob Hitchner, Chief of Sales & Marketing
Bob joined Nexus eWater as its first full-time American staffer in 2013 when he took leadership of in-region efforts to assess market opportunities, identify early adopters and sources of government support, and build expertise in state and local regulation. Bob is a graduate in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.