Green Weenie of the Week: Green Buildings

Green Weenie 2 copyThe leftist hive is in a tizzy about the water supply screw up in Flint, Michigan, because it offers the opportunity to attack a Republican governor, which is the main thing to do in life. (I don’t recall a similar outrage over high arsenic levels in the public water supply in Albuquerque, New Mexico, several years back, but Albuquerque is run by Democrats, so no opportunity there.) Meanwhile, the environmental lobbies continue to demand strict regulations for new construction of houses and commercial buildings (so-called LEED buildings) to conserve water, because it’s simply beyond the pale to propose diverting and storing any of the trillions of gallons of the most renewable resource on the planet that we let wash out to sea every year.

But not so fast: A new study (PDF file) in a British journal, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, concludes that these water-conserving buildings may be unhealthy. Here’s the abstract:

Widespread adoption of innovative water conservation strategies has potential unintended consequences for aesthetics and public health. A cross-section of green buildings were surveyed and compared to typical conventional buildings in terms of water retention time (i.e., water age), water chemistry, and levels of opportunistic pathogen genetic markers. Water age was estimated to be 2–6.7 months in an off-grid office, an average of 8 days in a Leadership in Environmental Engineering Design certified healthcare suite, and was increased to 2.7 days from 1 day due to installation of a solar “pre-heat” water tank in a net-zero energy house. Chlorine and chloramine residuals were often completely absent in the green building systems, decaying up to 144 times faster in premise plumbing with high water age when compared to distribution system water. Concentration of 16S rRNA and opportunistic pathogen genus level genetic markers were 1–4 orders of magnitude higher in green versus conventional buildings. This study raises concerns with respect to current green water system practices and the importance of considering potential public health impacts in the design of sustainable water systems. [Emphasis added.]

Heh. I wonder if any outbreaks of water-borne diseases in green buildings will get blamed on environmental regulations? Maybe Trump should come out in favor of “green buildings” (though he has a much more sensible understanding of what a “green building” is).

Here’s an idea: how about we build some more dams and reservoirs?

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