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This chapter includes data on water use in commercial and residential buildings and the energy needed to supply that water. The main points from this chapter are summarized below:
- In 2005, water use in the buildings sector was estimated at 39.6 billion gallons per day, which is nearly 10% of total water use in the United States.
- From 1985 to 2005, water use in the residential sector closely tracked population growth, while water use in the commercial sector grew almost twice as fast.
- In 2005, between 27 billion and 39 billion kWh were consumed to pump, treat, distribute, and clean the water used in the buildings sector, accounting for 0.7 to 1% of net electricity generation.
In 2005, an estimated 410 billion gallons per day (bgd) of water were withdrawn for all uses in the United States. This total includes fresh and saline water from ground and surface sources. Domestic (residential) water use was the third largest water use category after thermoelectric power generation and irrigation, with an estimated 29.4 bgd. Another 10.2 bgd were used in commercial buildings, for a total of 39.6 bgd in the buildings sector as a whole. (8.1.1)
From 1985 to 2005, water use in the residential sector closely tracked population growth, while water use in the commercial sector grew almost twice as fast, as shown in the figure. All other water uses taken together were unchanged. As a result, total water use over those two decades increased less than 3%, while water use in the buildings sector increased 27%. The buildings sector's share of total water use increased from 7.8% to 9.7%. (2.2.1), (8.1.1)