Maximizing Water Conservation in San Diego Buildings

The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon is one of the locations in San Diego leading the charge for commercial water conservation and efficiency.
The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon is one of the locations in San Diego leading the charge for commercial water conservation and efficiency.

As commercial and residential development in San Diego expands, so does the demand for water.

According to The San Diego Foundation Economic Resilience: Water report, demand for water in San Diego is expected to increase by 46 percent by 2035. The report also describes how water is an essential resource for the success of the region’s three major industries – tourism, innovation and the military.

Yet despite its significance, you may be surprised to know that very few water-efficient buildings are being built in San Diego.

U.S. Green Building Council in San Diego is hoping to change that.

Net Zero Water Building

Thanks to grant funding through The San Diego Foundation Climate Program, U.S. Green Building Council is working with local officials, developers and the business sector to ensure future buildings are designed with water efficiency in mind.

Known as “net-zero water buildings,” these designs incorporate responsible water practices, such as commercial composting toilets, onsite indoor water reuse and blackwater treatments systems. For example, instead of wasting grey water that flows out of our showers and sinks after being used, net-zero water buildings are able to treat that water and then recycle it to water the surrounding plants.

Currently, the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry is one of the few locations in San Diego leading the charge for commercial water conservation and efficiency. The Port’s rainwater reclamation system incorporates a treatment plant for both grey and black water, which helps reduce water consumption by millions of gallons per year.

Deemed the “Port of the Future” by the U.S. General Services Administration, the popular border crossing has established a framework for others to follow. With the support of public officials and local developers, San Diego can become a leader for responsible water conservation in new developments.

Preparing for the Known and Unknown

In drought-prone San Diego, water is both a basic necessity and scarce resource. Net-zero water buildings will create a more resilient region by preparing San Diego for continued population and economic growth.

As we learned from the San Diego, 2050 is Calling. How Will We Answer? report, 8 out of 10 San Diegans are concerned about the impact climate change will have on the environment, local communities and the regional economy.

Since 2006, The San Diego Foundation Climate Program has taken a leadership role on this topic forging more than 50 partnerships, publishing 18 climate change research studies and supporting 24 local government technical assistance projects, including the City of San Diego Climate Action Plan and City of Chula Water Stewardship Plan.

Today, thanks to the support of countless leaders and philanthropists, our region is continuing to innovate as a global leader in climate change preparedness.

Join your fellow philanthropists in protecting San Diego’s environment by supporting the impactful work of the Climate Program today.