Sustainable Water Management Webinar
Hello. I'm michael, and i'm here today to speak with stuart, about sustainable, water management, in the built environment. In australia, we've had a. Difficult, run with droughts. And, bush fires. And, some flooding. And now the coronavirus. Um and, we're conscious that you know water management. We think we need to change the conversation, a bit. I think uh. That's exactly right and what we've learned here is uh. In terms of resilience, and the built environment, in particular. Is that. The design, of buildings. Has a huge part to play in the way that cities operate. And in regards to being resilient, to. Changes, in the environment, external, factors there so, we we know that buildings have the ability to reduce, consumption, minimize, the impact. And that, cities. Operate, in a in a system, of, lots and lots of small. Pieces, all fitting together. So. We want to look at that, and and how each building can, better perform. So, i'd like to explore this a little bit more michael can you cover. Uh. Quickly what we're going to be talking about through this session. Thanks stuart. So, i think you really. Covered it but to summarise. We're going to be looking at sustainable, water management, what that means. The urban water cycle, so, how urbanization. Changes the way, water moves through our environment. And, the role that buildings, play. And should play in the cities of the future. Thanks michael can you uh, maybe just elaborate, for us a little bit on. What we mean by sustainable, water management, because i think it may be something that's not, uh. Not a universal, term. So we had quite a conversation, within the office, um and when we started to explore we realized that there's if you like different levels. So there's, some basic concepts, around using for instance water efficient appliances. That might be required, under building regulations. And plumbing regulations. But you can go further than that you can use you know higher technology. Water efficient appliances. Then there's a whole field around the behavior, within the house so how people. Use water appliances, do people switch the tap off whilst they're brushing their teeth, that kind of thing. And then from a design point of view. The way you design the house will actually influence, the water a lot so if you've got a lot of lawn area in a. Warm climate, then you're going to use a lot of water swimming pools use a lot of water through evaporation, and splashing, etc. So some of those basic design features will have a big impact on how much water you use. There's. A, key area for us is around harvesting, rainwater. And you can do that at a minimal level and have a rainwater tank and water a garden, or you can be a bit more sophisticated. About it and run a you know a well-designed, system, which you can then use to flush toilets. And and to do your um your clothes washing with and as as well as the garden and that makes a big difference, and obviously the size of the rainwater, tank and those sorts of things.
Recycling, Is a big issue so. There's, much more high-tech, solutions, around. Using some of those. Less polluted wastewaters. And treating them and feeding them back into the cycle either at a house level or a municipal, level. And. Then, i suppose the most interesting area which is at the building scale, and at the neighborhood scale is the whole idea of water sensitive, urban design, so. Managing, your buildings, and and, landscape, so that they're retaining the water that falls on them um using that water efficiently. And, reducing, negative impacts on the surrounding environment, so, it's a whole scale. Of thinking. Uh and then, waste water of course too sorry, um wow it sounds like there's, certainly a lot more elements, and a lot more factors going on you use the word system. Uh, quite a lot in there, i'm wondering if we. Can, if we can, sort of um. Compare that to the traditional. Urban water management, and the way that that, cities were thought of at a utility, scale and and the way that things are still being. Put together, for infrastructure, in a city because, it, seems quite different, so. I think it's important to understand the way we we look at our cities and water management, in our cities, now. And it's really based, on, on. A very important development back in the 1800s. In. Industrializing. England. Edwin chadwick, talked about a, radically, new way of managing, water. Which involved. Piping water in from clean reservoirs. Around the city. And then piping, wastewater. And sewage. Out of the city to be treated. Elsewhere. And he had a very strong health focus. He was very concerned, about the the health impact, um, on the people living in london, and it's been a very successful, model, um, in terms of it's been used all around the world, and it's become our understanding, of water management. And it's it's very good so far as it goes but, we're now seeing a lot of challenges, in our cities that we need to address the art covered by that model, so it didn't consider, things like the the rainfall. That was landing, on, the buildings, in the city and how we might use that. It didn't really consider, the the whole issue of storm water they just included, storm water in their, wastewater, management, which has created, another set of problems, for their, creeks and rivers. So we think we need to change that language, a bit we need to be talking about a system. An urban water, cycle. That's happening. More discussion about the impact on the natural environment. And then obviously. How buildings, are become, part of that. In order to understand the important role of buildings, we really need to look at how an urban area. Changes. When. It goes from, a natural landscape. Which is mostly grasses. And forests. To a built up environment. And it's interesting to look at the numbers here, so in a more natural landscape. The landscape, retains, about eighty percent of the water. And that either becomes groundwater, it infiltrates, into the soil and becomes groundwater.
Or, It evaporates. And has a cooling effect. But it also becomes water vapor and it can be and can land again as rainfall. When we urbanize, we see a very big shift. Instead of 80, of that would have been retained, 80, of the water becomes, runoff. So it very quickly runs. Off that landscape. So we have quite, negative, impacts on our waterways, we see flooding. And we see. Scouring, and a loss of that ecological, habitat. But we also don't see groundwater. So the base flow, when it's not raining we see a lot less flows. In those local waterways. And we also don't see the levels of evaporation. And evapotranspiration. That have a really important. Cooling effect for our cities, but also create more rain, so, you know, one of the ideas that we start to talk about is that our cities are becoming deserts. We're seeing, less rainfall. They're getting hotter and windier. And when it does rain we're seeing flash flooding, so it's a pretty negative image but it's one that we need to think about, and. The great thing is that buildings, can then become. Part of the solution, and address, all of those impacts, to replicate, that natural, environment. That's a great segue thanks michael. Uh so, if we did want to take, uh, a look further at the buildings i think it's worthwhile, to take that thought that buildings, are part or can be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. And that by changing the way that water's managed, at an individual, scale in a, single building or in a in a suburb, or a town or. At a wider scale we can actually change the impact. Of. A, whole city and a built environment. On the natural, environment, so. We see an example, of this where we use, using now a lot of, decentralized. Solar, pv to generate, electricity. So we don't need to rely, on, a great big infrastructure. Solution, and we can get, small inputs coming into the system in. The local area with less transportation. And less infrastructure, required. We can. Use our buildings and think about our buildings in three different ways the first being that we make them more efficient, than they were before so they consume, less, less inputs, from the external, world and that's things like insulation, in a you know from a power and heating, cooling. Cost there but in in a water sense it's things like, water efficient appliances. Shower heads taps, washing machines things like that. Then we can also think about generating, ourselves so generating. Energy or water at the site. And look at an individual, building. And how much it can actually. Bring in, through solar electricity. And through rainwater, harvesting, as examples. And then. Lastly, changing the processes, in the building, so that, we. Reuse. As much as we can, and. Again things like insulation. But but in a water sense maybe. Small recycling. Reusing. Water that, might otherwise be, pumped away into wastewater, and reusing, it on site for irrigation, for example. So with these things in place we can actually end up with a, building that has a net positive, effect. It's actually generating, more than it's consuming. And you think about that in terms of. Uh, rolling that up into a city scale. The buildings, can actually. Uh make a massive contribution. To, the way a city is performing. Stu one of the things that that i'm hearing about a bit is this idea of a crisis. So that there's a sense of urgency, around, some of these issues and that and and these changes. Would do you think that there is a crisis, is that something we're looking at, i i think you don't have to look too far to see examples, of. Uh. The impact, of climate, on cities, and, in particular. Hot dry summers. And, a shortage, of. Utility. Water supply. And we've seen notable examples, in cape town and atlanta, in the last few years where. Whole cities, of millions of people have been running short of water. And then. At the same time we get. Uh stories, about, whole cities. Having, enormous, amounts of floods, and extreme weather events, leading to. Peak flow, of. Of storm water and flash flooding. And both of these are very. Damaging. Problems and seem to be coming up. More and more frequently, in the last 10 or 20 years. Particularly, what we know about. The flooding, situation, is that it's a it's a massively, expensive, problem, floods are.
Hugely, Damaging, for cities. And we're seeing impacts there in the insurance, industry, where. It's. No longer. Cost effective or available, to get insurance, in some situations. Because the risk of flooding is, is too great and the cost associated. Is too much. It's interesting that's become part of the conversation, in australia, so, some of the consultants, are talking about one in ten houses not being insurable, by 2030. Because of a combination, of a whole lot of things not just water, but a number of them are water related. So stu we've spent a bit of time covering theory. Um i think it would be good to talk about some practical, examples, of of what's been done around the world. In terms of. Using water more smartly, using the design of the buildings, to get into this idea of circularity. Um, and minimizing, the impact, can can you take us through, some, some practical, examples, of this. Yeah excellent, the, the first one we want to talk about is a, recent renovation. And and development, of a library. Area in marrickville, in sydney. Uh so this is a, an older heritage, building that was, renovated, as part of a development, site where they've they've, increased. Density, and built some medium density apartment buildings, in there so the the existing, heritage, building was renovated, upgraded, and turned into a public library. Uh and here in the picture you can see, uh in the courtyard, next to the library they've installed. Six large, kingspan. Rainwater, tanks this is a. An iconic, australian. Corrugated, steel. Product, in a in an australian native, landscape, garden there. The six tanks. Uh storage, about, 57. 000 liters. Capturing, water from the roof of the library. And filling up those tanks there, and then the water is reused, into the public toilets, and facilities. Inside. The library there so. These. Six. Relatively, small tanks have the ability to save about 400, 000 liters, of water, a year, that would otherwise, have been. Piped in from a dam, uh many kilometers, away so. It's a really great example, of of using. The water reusing, the water on site where it falls without having to treat it. And without having to pump at long distances. This site also, when these tanks are overflow, which they do a few times a year the the. Water from that runs into an underground stormwater. Uh retention, basin, and is uh further. Slowed down and and, um. Uh treated before it's, led into the stormwater, network. So it's it's, quite a good integrated, system there and we've got a really visible, example, of using rainwater. Where it doesn't need to be hidden away, and it's part of a feature of a landscape, garden as well.
Yeah It works well. The the next example is a little bit smaller scale but this is a a, london, townhouse. And this is an architect, owner who's renovated, the house and trying to be as, sustainable, with uh, all elements of the design of the building, so. This house, uh four-story. Terrace house. With a relatively, small roof area, they're capturing the whole roof area into a 1200, liter kingspan. Rainwater, tank underground, in the backyard. And then they transfer the water up into a header tank in the, in the attic space, and then the water is uh released by gravity down to flush the toilets through the whole building and i think used for some irrigation, in the gardens, as well so. Um, this is a, really compact, lot scale, example, of. Stopping the rainwater, from, leaving the site reusing, it through. The appliances, in in the building. And. You know just, minimizing, the impact of that of that development, on the natural. Environment. Dude i'm curious on something like that. Um, are we talking. Very technical, equipment, is it a very expensive, installation. Well that's a pretty straightforward, installation, i don't have two small. Tanks there and one small pump, uh and and you know, quite straightforward, and quite commonplace, now to be able to be done on a on a residential. Lot without a huge impact on on cost as well. Yes, cool. Um. I've got one that i wanted to talk about, it's um. It's the. The library at the queens university, in belfast. So it's quite a large space, they, can. Manage a couple of thousand students, there, um they talk about an amble area where you can look at one and a half million books. Which means that it covers a fair amount of area and has quite a large roof space and. There was a very strong sustainability. Focus from the building designers. So they've utilized, this roof space by capturing, the rain water from it they capture about two and a half million liters a year, that goes into an, underground, tank, and there's a fairly simple, filtration, process. And then they run that back through the toilet so it's um, again an example of building, into. The, initial, design. Uh, smarter ways of managing water. Uh right as you said rather than trucking in you know, many kilometers, from, another centre and treating it to a very high level, and then becoming part of the sewage system.
The Uh, the next case study we wanted to look at was uh, some, town houses. Where the water tanks are actually required. Uh to help reduce, the stormwater, impact, of this development, on the local. Uh creek. That's that's nearby, to the development, michael this one's in, uh pasco vale in melbourne would you like to. Tell us a bit about this. Yeah so this this is interesting, um. Local government has really taken on this idea, of particularly, storm water management and using rainwater, harvesting for stormwater, management. So this isn't a one-off, this is part of the whole regulatory. Framework, of this particular. Local government, area. They have, there's 21, residences, there and they've installed, a relatively, small 1500. Liter, tank in in the um the garage space underground, of each of these developments. Um and that, that although quite small, is. Sufficient, to. Deal with. Most of the small. Rain events that occur on that site. Um and has a a. Really, important, difference. To the quality, of the water coming off and the volume of the water, coming off it in terms of local waterways, and reducing, the impact of, local flooding, so they capture, about 75. Of the roof area. Into those tanks. That's excellent. So stuart, we've talked quite a lot about the design of buildings. Um. Kingspan, have been in this space for a long time can we talk about some of the stuff that we do that, that can improve the impact that buildings have on our environment. Yeah absolutely. So i think we've talked a lot about rainwater, harvesting, and, kingspan, is a, major manufacturer, of rainwater, harvesting, products so we we produce a range of, above ground, and below ground rainwater, storage, tanks as well as some quite large storage, tanks for more industrial, and agricultural. Purposes. We've got a range of of storage, tanks then for, in that agricultural, space for fertilizer. And fuels, as well. And the water space. More generally we've got integrated.
Underground, Systems, for. Storm water and also, for, pump stations, and water transfer. And then we've got uh. Some. Specialized. Uh stormwater. Products for separating. Oil and and. Other particles, and things out of stormwater, networks. We've also got a wastewater. Treatment, product. Which is. Uh. Industry leading, for treating, on-site, wastewater. Actually, on that i've been looking at, some. Some material, and a really interesting, design solution, so it's uh. Uh i think it's an old church with a um. A restaurant, and two artisan, studios. But it's set in these beautiful, grounds. Which are obviously, environmentally. Quite sensitive. So they needed a wastewater, solution, that didn't have a big impact. And they also didn't have good access to the site so there's a helicopter. Bringing in a. One of our biodisk. Systems. And it's really quite nice i have to say. Okay well uh. Kingspan. Uh. This year has launched, uh. A massive, initiative. Called the planet passionate, this is a 10-year. Program. For. Um. Uh. Initiatives. In in climate. So, it's it's really to, to address three major global, themes, on, the environment, being climate, change. Circularity. And the protection, of the natural, environment. So, you know it's really, exciting for us to be part of this program, and to and to really be uh, involved, in it, um. In particular. One of the targets is around rainwater harvesting. And, the the target we've said is that in 10 years we'll be saving. Uh, 100. Million litres of, water a year through rainwater, harvesting, on kingspan, facilities. So at the moment there's, over 100. Buildings, that kingspan, owns around the world and, we've already started to install. Uh, rainwater, tanks on these buildings. I've been in this industry for quite some time and i've not heard of a world program, like that before so, you know, it's exciting to be part of something that's quite ambitious. Um. The water theme is is continued, also, we're quite concerned, about, the oceans.
And We've joined with a not-for-profit. Group called ecoelf. And um. They're working, with, fishermen, in the mediterranean. To retrieve. A lot of plastic, waste from there. Uh, we're looking at up to 150. Tons a year. So um, we're going to be doing that and we're also looking at doing, four ocean cleanups. By 2025.. Wow thanks michael, that sounds uh sounds like a huge project. Uh, just, uh to talk about some examples, of the the rainwater, harvesting, target on kingspan's, own building so i just firstly, want to look at the icon, building in king's court this is adjacent, to the kingspan, group. Headquarters, there so, recently, developed, this new building, using, a lot of kingsman's, own products. As a, showcase, of. The, kind of, design. That's possible, now using modern building materials, and. As part of that design we've installed rainwater. Tanks in the basement, of the the icon building and, those tanks capturing, the water from the roof of the building and reusing, that through the toilets, in in the building so. Just just, to showcase, exactly what's what's possible. Uh on, a nice neat architecturally. Um. Uh, i think quite a good-looking, building. In a in a country. Uh escape, in, ireland, uh the kingspan, water and energy facility, in rocket niza, in in poland, has also already installed rainwater, harvesting, uh, tanks there so, uh in that situation i got a 20 000 liter tank, connected, to, about three and a half thousand square meters of factory roof area. So. There's enough. Roof area there with uh even modest rainfall, in that region of poland. For them to refill, that tank i think about 80 times a year. Again that water is being used back into the toilet block in the building so all that water. Is. Reducing, consumption, of the mains water that was otherwise being used. Uh, thanks for just to to summarize, then. What we wanted to cover off here is talking about sustainable, water management, and just making sure we have a clear understanding. Of what, what is meant by sustainable, water management. Also really, understanding. The um. The urban water cycle, and and trying to change the conversation. Around. What an urban water cycle is and understanding, that it's more than just a centralized, infrastructure, and there are a lot of inputs, and outputs, and, and varying factors on, an urban water cycle. And, lastly probably most importantly, the the key to. Uh an urban water cycle really is the buildings, and and it's it is possible, for, buildings, here to be part of the solution, and not just the problem. Excellent. Thanks very much. All right thanks everybody. Cheers.