[photo via tigris777: hardy bougainvillea remains pretty amidst the el nino dry spell]
Here in the Philippines, we are knee deep in el niño season. Water has not just become a precious commodity, but an expensive one too. While we are being advised to conserve water in our everyday use, we (designers, builders, and future homeowners) can take this further and reflect it in the designs of our homes and buildings.
1. HOLD OFF ON THOSE WATER FEATURES
Pools and ponds can definitely add charm to a place. Having a personal swimming pool in your home is certainly a luxury. However, these water-features are resource consuming. The volume may not be huge, but the water still needs to be changed regularly. Plus, they are not as easy to maintain. I’ve seen many a grotto with a dry, dusty and neglected pond. Also, if not designed properly, water-features can add humidity especially during high temperatures, making the air stuffier than normal.
2. PLANT A HARDY GARDEN
One of the biggest sources of water consumption is watering the plants and lawn. To reduce the amount of water spent while retaining that garden, plant hardy species that require minimal watering (ie. Carabao grass over Bermuda grass). Do not be restricted with cacti. Ornamental plants such as bromeliads, draecena, bougainvillea (above), hibiscus (gumamela), sanseviera, and yucca are equally drought-resistant.
3. INSTALL WATER-SAVING TOILET FIXTURES
There are toilet fixtures in the market today that promote water-conversation. Self-closing faucets at sinks are heavily favored in commercial spaces (like malls) today. Furthermore, waterless urinals are prevalent in male washrooms. There are shower heads that have adjustable settings for water-saving. Water closets have dual-flush systems that consume water depending on the person’s use.
4. HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE RESOURCE
Why not tap the rain as alternative source of water? Install a rainwater collection system. Not your usual water-barrel-under-the-downspout (though that would be a simple and affordable way), modern systems nowadays collect rainwater from roofs and run-offs from the grounds and collect the water into underground cisterns. The collected water then passes through a filtering system to make it drinkable (potable), or use as is (non-potable) for watering the plants, cleaning the car and flushing the toilets.
Why not recycle what you already used? Set up a wastewater recycling system. Waste water or greywater from bath, laundry and kitchen sinks (not from water closets please) are collected, filtered and re-used for non-potable sources. –green guide
Tags: conscious living, eco-friendly, el nino, green, green design, philippines, tropical design, water conservation
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