Environmental benefit analysis of strategies for potable water savings in residential buildings

J Environ Manage. 2018 Jan 15:206:28-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Oct 19.


The objective of this study is to assess the environmental benefit of using rainwater, greywater, water-efficient appliances and their combinations in low-income houses. The study was conducted surveying twenty households located in southern Brazil, which resulted in water end-uses estimation. Then, embodied energy, potential for potable water savings and sewage reduction when using the different strategies were estimated. The environmental benefit analysis of these strategies was performed using an indicator that includes embodied energy, potable water savings, reduction of sewage and energy consumption in the water utility, and sewage production during the life cycle of the system. The results indicated that the strategy with the greatest environmental benefit is the use of water-efficient appliances, which resulted in substantial water savings and reduction of sewage, causing low environmental impact due to lower embodied energy over the life cycle.

Keywords: Environmental benefit; Greywater; Rainwater harvesting; Residential buildings; Water-efficient appliances.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Drinking Water*
  • Environment
  • Housing*
  • Sewage
  • Water Supply*


  • Drinking Water
  • Sewage