Sustainable Water Consumption in Building Industry: A Review Focusing on Building Water Footprint

In Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering: 12th ICSECM
Chapter: 56
Book Chapter
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During the twentieth century, the growth of global water consumption was twice the population growth and at this juncture, many comprehensive policy agendas focused on increasing the limited availability of freshwater to meet ever-growing and competing demands. Hence sustainable water consumption has become a primary concern of the building industry. The water footprinting assesses the freshwater use and associated effects on local and global freshwater resources plus ecosystems therein. This review elaborates on two extensively adopted water footprinting approaches, Water Footprint Network (WFN) and ISO 14046 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), discussing their methodologies and perspectives of analyses with special regard to the building industry. An appraisal of water footprints of common building materials is presented in this study with glimpses of the hotspots of freshwater consumption along their supply chains. Further, it advances its water footprint appraisal into the use phase/ case-study level referring to the real-world applications of the building industry. The importance of comprehensive water footprint analysis covering the complete life cycle of buildings, the inclusion of allied environmental impacts into analyses, influence of building type/ structural design/ site-specific variables were highlighted under this discussion in support of the dependable judgment of freshwater appropriation performances. Ultimately, the review dedicated a segment to set a futuristic view into the matter featuring sustainable freshwater consumption, economic and developmental interests, challenges faced by the industry, and prioritization, and compromise of freshwater uses in the building industry.