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Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2993-3018; doi:10.3390/su6052993

A Benchmarking System for Domestic Water Use

Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TT, UK
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Received: 30 January 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014

Abstract

The national demand for water in the UK is predicted to increase, exacerbated by a growing UK population, and home-grown demands for energy and food. When set against the context of overstretched existing supply sources vulnerable to droughts, particularly in increasingly dense city centres, the delicate balance of matching minimal demands with resource secure supplies becomes critical. When making changes to "internal" demands the role of technological efficiency and user behaviour cannot be ignored, yet existing benchmarking systems traditionally do not consider the latter. This paper investigates the practicalities of adopting a domestic benchmarking system (using a band rating) that allows individual users to assess their current water use performance against what is possible. The benchmarking system allows users to achieve higher benchmarks through any approach that reduces water consumption. The sensitivity of water use benchmarks are investigated by making changes to user behaviour and technology. The impact of adopting localised supplies (i.e., Rainwater harvesting—RWH and Grey water—GW) and including "external" gardening demands are investigated. This includes the impacts (in isolation and combination) of the following: occupancy rates (1 to 4); roof size (12.5 m2 to 100 m2); garden size (25 m2 to 100 m2) and geographical location (North West, Midlands and South East, UK) with yearly temporal effects (i.e., rainfall and temperature). Lessons learnt from analysis of the proposed benchmarking system are made throughout this paper, in particular its compatibility with the existing Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) accreditation system. Conclusions are subsequently drawn for the robustness of the proposed system.
Keywords: urban water demand management; user behaviour; water saving devices urban water demand management; user behaviour; water saving devices
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Hunt, D.V.L.; Rogers, C.D.F. A Benchmarking System for Domestic Water Use. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2993-3018.

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