Water conservation is a goal of the green building initiatives enacted by the State of California and by the City of Los Angeles. The most recent of these initiatives addresses both indoor and outdoor water consumption and wastewater generation.

The goal is to reduce indoor water consumption and wastewater generation by 20%. This is accomplished by requiring the installation of the latest ultra high efficiency plumbing fixtures in new construction and when retrofitted in existing constructions. The fixtures include toilets and urinals with reduced flushing volumes, self metering, low flow lavatory faucets, and reduced flow rate shower heads.

CALGreen also addresses the outdoor water consumption through the requirement mandated as part of California Assembly Bill AB1181. The City of Los Angeles’ responses to AB1881 include the City of Los Angeles Landscape Ordinance and the City of Los Angeles Irrigation Guidelines, both of which address planning, design, plant selection, construction, and inspection of landscape areas to reduce the demand for water. These requirements apply to new constructions and large existing landscape areas that are renovated. CALGreen mandates smart irrigation controllers which automatically adjust programming to account for weather or soil moisture conditions and water submeters or separate water meters for large irrigation areas. CALGreen also references, but does not mandate, graywater irrigation systems as a means to reduce the potable water demand of irrigation systems

Additional water conservation in large, multi-unit commercial buildings will be accomplished through direct billing for water usage. This will be accomplished by requiring the installation of separate water meters or submeters for high water use tenants and for very large residential units. Direct billing is expected to encourage water customers to take a more active approach to reducing water waste.

All of these water saving techniques are designed to reduce the demand on the state’s water supplies which are being strained by legislation affecting the sources of L.A.’s water and by periodic droughts.

“Water Conservation” is referred to as “Water Efficiency and Conservation” in the new 2010 CALGreen Code.

To learn more about CALGreen, click to the Guide to the CALGreen Code

To learn about the City of Los Angeles Green Building Code Ordinance and related information, please visit the following links:

Los Angeles Green Building Code Ordinance

City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Green Buildings

To learn about the City of Los Angeles Plumbing Fixture Water Efficiency Ordinance, please visit the following link:

Los Angeles City Ord. No. 180822