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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

• 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).

• 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.