Wednesday September 30, 2015 0 comments
DENVER -- Fort Collins-based Brendle Group on Tuesday formally launched its Net Zero Water Initiative to help building developers, owners and facility managers develop sustainable water management plans that can save water and money.
The free Net Zero Water Building-Scale Planning Toolkit is aimed at helping reduce water use with the ultimate goal of making buildings “water neutral” in their consumption of an increasingly precious resource.
The toolkit is a first-of-its-kind water management concept that builds on the principles of net zero energy use and climate neutrality.
The toolkit aims to comprehensively assess current water use and quality impacts, examine water and cost-reduction scenarios and help its users to take action.
The urgency for doing so has never been greater with ongoing climate change and Colorado’s rapidly growing population.
Kevin Reidy, senior water conservation tech specialist with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said the state’s population is projected to double from 5 million today to 10 million by 2050.
“If we can create a net neutral situation on-site, that’s great,” he said. “There is a growing water gap in municipal and industrial needs. Basically, we’re going to need a lot of innovative approaches if we’re going to make it to 2050.”
Reidy said a growing awareness of ongoing drought in the West, climate change as a real phenomenon and coping with future population growth has put water conservation on a front burner.
“It used to be off the table to talk about limiting water use because it was perceived as limiting growth,” he said, noting that’s no longer the case.
Amelia Nuding, senior water resources analyst with Western Resource Advocates, said the Net Zero toolkit is coming at a crucial moment.
“With the increase in population, how we manage and use our water is critically important, and we must grow as sustainably as possible,” she said.
“Communities are looking for new tools and metrics to evaluate how they’re doing. I think this tool provides the missing link to quantify the impact we have and to be able to do something about it.”
Becky Fedak, Brendle Group’s water and climate practice area leader, said the toolkit aims to be user-friendly.
“The intent is it’s user-friendly enough that anybody can use it,” she said. “We really wanted to develop something that a homeowner could use for their own house.”
Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group founder and owner, said the toolkit boils down to assessing a building’s current water use and figuring out ways it can be reduced.
“Effectively, it’s creating a water footprint and setting a vision and goals,” she said.
Brendle Group is leading the charge in using its toolkit and projects its Fort Collins headquarters will reach “net zero” water use by 2020.
Dorsey said developing the Net Zero Water toolkit was not easy and was aided by a strong technical advisory group that included the Water Conservation Board, Western Resource Advocates, the American Water Works Association, CSU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering departments and Stormwater Center, the EPA, Living Building Challenge and The Nature Conservancy.
Dorsey said she expects widespread use of the toolkit.
“There’s been a huge response and demand for the tools that are now available,” she said.
The building-scale toolkit is now available for free download at http://brendlegroup.com/water/netzerowater.