More builders in the United Kingdom are focusing on water neutrality, according to a report from Patrick Parsons.
Of the 100 executives from UK construction firms surveyed for the engineering consultancy’s Sustainable by Design report, 44% say they expect projects to be between 20% and 50% water neutral by 2025. That comes as currently nearly three quarters of respondents say their developments are less than 20% water neutral.
Sustainable water developments are seen as a big part of increasing overall sustainability in the building industry. The survey finds that 46% of the executives see water developments, such as sustainable drainage systems, as becoming more important over the next three years.
Those efforts will help with flood prevention, promoting natural habitats and preventing pollution. The process of water neutrality is that total water use after a development is equal to or less than what was used in the area before.
This comes as respondents overall see the building industry as being an important piece of helping the UK reach net zero targets by 2050. According to the UK Green Building Council, the building industry accounts for up to 42% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In response, 85% of the respondents believe enough is being done by the industry to reach net zero targets.
Although, in order to reach those goals, 68% of respondents to the survey say improvements to building material supply chains to reduce carbon are critical to hitting emissions goals. There were also 62% who feel the lack of materials with a lower carbon footprint are a barrier to achieving sustainability.
The respondents also feel existing planning regulations need to change to support the industry.
Patrick Parsons finds that water sustainability is an important piece of those efforts and that developments need to find how to best facilitate water saving and provide retrofits in existing infrastructure. It is important, the organization says, as using scarce natural resources more responsibly will help promote the success and longevity of new and existing developments.
According to the UK’s Stormsaver, water neutrality in construction will become a requirement in the country by 2050 so that water demand does not outpace supply. Stormsaver says traditional water use can lead to up to 6% of emissions and rainwater harvesting and water recycling can help make improvements.
A community project in New York City is an example of similar development efforts, as it is managing a variety of water issues on site. The development is designed to protect against flooding and manages stormwater on site, as well as using natural items to buffer the area.
Other industries also look to make water improvements, such as a cloud-based platform by Accenture and Amazon Web Services that can help energy companies reduce water waste. That platform is being used by Colombia’s Ecopetrol to help it with its goal of reducing 66% of its fresh water captured and zero discharges to surface water by 2045. Keurig Dr Pepper also has plans to achieve a net positive water impact by 2050, which includes replenishing 100% of the water it uses in at-risk areas.