The Magic of Water Savings…in Energy and Quantity!
Water is increasingly (and rightfully) such a hot topic everywhere…and definitely in SoCal!
So one can imagine this is a big part of our LEED plans at the new Pacific Audi showroom. And we’ll certainly discuss the exterior water use…but in a later post. For now, let’s go inside.
There are a couple really cool things our brilliant team is doing.
First, water heaters. There is much talk these days about “tankless water heaters”. But every situation is different.
The idea behind a tankless system is that it heats the water as you need it, instead of continually heating water stored in a tank.* Popular in Europe and Japan for a long time, they have been gaining more U.S. ground over the last few years, and can be greatly efficient. (If you want to find out more about tankless water heaters, click HERE.)
In Pacific Audi’s case, we decided to go with a high-efficiency water heater (not tankless), also known as a “hybrid heat pump.” Why? Mainly because we didn’t have sufficient access to natural gas, so we went the super-efficient electric route. This kind of water heater works much like a refrigerator in reverse. The heat pump extracts the heat from warm air, intensifies the heat with a compressor, delivers the heat to the water, and exhausts the cooler air. It uses the warm ambient air temperature to do most of the work. Pretty efficient, which means energy (and financial!) savings, AND we get some “Energy Efficiency” points in the LEED system for this!
To actually see how it works, check out the cool interactive graphic from Rheem, HERE.
Next we head on to “water efficiency”, through the other plumbing fixtures on site. We measure our use of water through these fixtures against the LEED scorecard. To be LEED, you automatically need to beat the U.S. Green Building Council’s baseline H20 fixture flow-rates by 20%. So, we will be getting LEED “water savings credit” because what we are doing uses less water than the baseline.
- With “flush” fixtures alone we achieve nearly a 30% water savings in general!
- Water closets (toilets) will flush at a rate of 1.28 gallons per flush, whereas the baseline is set at 1.6 gallons per flush
- Urinals will flush at a rate of 0.125 gallons per flush, whereas the baseline is set at 1.0 gallons per flush.
- Showers will operate at a rate of 2.0 gallons per minute, whereas the baseline is set at 2.5 gallons per minute.
Additionally, we will meet baseline on lavatory and sink faucets. The best part: The flushing fixtures and faucets in the restrooms are battery powered, sensor operated, so they are designed only to be used when someone is actually present and in the case of the faucets, and won’t be left on continually. As an added attention to the smallest detail (and being who we are, we DO love the details!), the flush valves and faucets have a solar component to them. Any natural or artificial light source will generate enough energy to operate the sensor, therefore extending battery life! Cool and smart, no? We thought so…and that’s our M.O.
NOTE: Check out DWELL ON DESIGN on June 22-24. Includes talks on water efficiency and Kitchen & Bath exhibitors, and so much more! And the EcoFabulous house is always a treat.