Norfolk lies within one of the driest parts of the UK. Planned growth in housing and employment will significantly increase water demand. Reducing water consumption in new properties can make a significant contribution towards reducing demand. The National Building Regulations currently require that new homes are designed to limit water use to no more than 125litres /person/day. All homes built at North Walsham West will achieve a higher standard of 110 litres/person/day.
Water Efficient Homes
There are a variety of simple measures which can easily be included in new buildings, and retrofitted to old, to help reduce householders' water usage often at little or no cost to the developer.
- Rainwater harvesting: This is the collection of water that would otherwise have gone down the drain, into the ground or been lost through evaporation. Large surfaces such as roofs and driveways are ideal for rainwater harvesting. Generally green roofs do not provide as much harvesting potential as traditional roofing materials, so the use of rainwater harvesting and green roofs on the same building requires careful consideration. This water is not suitable for drinking but can be used for flushing toilets, watering gardens and even supplying the washing machine. Rainwater harvesting has the potential to save a large volume of mains water and therefore help reduce the pressure on water resources. Water butts to supply garden watering requirements are the simplest form of rainwater harvesting system, their installation is encouraged in all new dwellings.
- Greywater recycling: Wastewater from all sources in a property other than toilets is known as greywater. Most greywater recycling systems collect and treat wastewater from showers, baths and wash basins, excluding the more contaminated water from washing machines, kitchen sinks and dishwashers. Greywater recycling systems collect this water, treat it and re-use it for purposes that do not require drinking water quality. This recycled water can be used to flush toilets, water gardens and sometimes supply washing machines.
Installing water efficient fixtures and fittings:
Taps - Install flow reducing / aerating taps.
Shower - Install 6-9 litre per minute showers.
WC - Install 6/4 litre dual flush WCs and waterless urinals in commercial buildings.
Bath - Tapered or peanut-shaped baths that are still long enough to lie down in require less water to fill up. Insulate the bath to minimise the need for regular topping up with hot water when taking long soaks.
Washing machines - Energy efficiency labels also contain information on water use; it is possible to buy washing machines that use less than 50 litres of water per wash and these should be installed in new developments where white good are provided by the developer.
Dishwashers - It is possible to buy dishwashers that use less than 12 litres of water per cycle and these should be installed in new developments where white goods are provided by the developer.