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Draining the Environment


Here’s a look at how traditional building materials, appliances and construction techniques are draining the world’s natural resources, according to GreenBuilding.com.

Water:
• Older toilets use
3.7–7 gallons per flush.
• Dishwashers use
8–14 gallons per cycle.
• Top-loading washers use 45 gallons per load.
• A dripping faucet wastes 15–21 gallons
per day.
• U.S. water users use enough water to fill a line of Olympic-sized swimming pools reaching around the world every day (300 billion gallons).
• Although our planet is 71 percent water, humans depend on a mere 0.65 percent of the planet’s water for survival—much of which is polluted.
• About a quarter of the nation’s largest industrial plants and water treatment facilities are in serious violation of pollution standards at any one time.
• An estimated 7 million Americans are made sick annually by contaminated tap water; in some rare cases, this results in death.

Indoor Air Quality:
• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution among the top-five
environmental risks.
Unhealthy air is found in up to 30 percent of new and renovated buildings.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that indoor air pollution causes 14 times more deaths than outdoor air pollution (2.8 million lives).
• Of hundreds of EPA-regulated chemicals, only ozone and sulfur dioxide are more prevalent outdoors than indoors.
• 20 percent of all U.S. housing have too much lead dust or chippings (which cause kidney and red blood cell damage, impairs mental and physical development and may increase blood pressure).

Wood:
• Although the United States is home to only 4.5 percent of the global population, it’s responsible for over 15 percent of the world’s consumption of wood.