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Water efficiency in new homes: an introductory guide for housebuilders (NF20)

Overview

Consumption of water has been growing steadily in recent decades and this increasing consumption, together with a growing number of households, has put water supply under stress in parts of the UK.

This guide, specifically intended for smaller builders, provides an introduction to water efficiency. It outlines the standards being encouraged by the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Building Regulations. The technologies used to achieve water efficiency are described, together with some key issues associated with each.

Summary of content

This guide, specifically intended for smaller builders, provides an introduction to water efficiency.

Over the years the volume of water consumed in the UK has generally increased, although recently there has been a slight fall. The increase is mainly due to an increase in the total number of homes and an increase in the number of appliances that use water.

People’s attitudes to water use have also changed. For example, power showers and appliances such as whirlpool baths and hot tubs have increased in popularity. This increase in water use has led to implications for the ability of the existing infrastructure to supply sufficient water.

Water is a finite resource. However, less than 1% is fresh water suitable for human consumption. As the population rises, and levels of affluence also increase, water consumption also increases.

This situation has led to water stressed areas, not only in dry parts of the world where it is expected, but also in many developed countries including the UK. The approach the UK has adopted is to manage both supply and demand. The promotion of water efficiency is a key aspect of demand management.