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WaterBuild: Where Green Buildings and Water Collide

Suzi Warren, US Water Alliance | November 28, 2017

Every year the US Green Building Council brings together 20,000 green building professionals from around the world for the largest green building conference and expo in the world.  For the last two years, they have turned their sights on water, and created WaterBuild; a full day pre-conference summit dedicated to discussing water.  This year our very own Radhika Fox was the keynote speaker for the day, temporarily transporting a room of engineers and architects into our world of utilities, water-reliant businesses, and water conservation.

As Radhika spoke, it became clear the concepts we are so familiar with and used to discussing were brand new to some in the room.  From the challenges of increasing water rates to the gross underfunding of public infrastructure, the issues we regularly deal with were out of sight, out of mind to many.   The wheels started turning as she transitioned into the innovative work and solutions being deployed across the country.  What seems like an overwhelming series of challenges, quickly became an opportunity for the audience to learn about the transformative programs and projects that are advancing the One Water movement. 

The building industry touches water in many ways, from stormwater management to low-flow faucets, there is a tremendous opportunity for collaboration beyond fixtures and green roofs.  There are many overlaps in green building design and water management.  Both need to be holistic, inclusive, and thoughtful, thinking not just of the short-term benefits but of the long-term paybacks.  As the two industries move forward, it is important to continue collaborating and breaking down silos to ensure a sustainable water future for all.