What the City of Saskatoon is doing...
The Access Transit bus storage facility is the City’s first civic building to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. The 47,609 square foot building includes features such as: high-efficiency boilers, demand ventilation (creating a fantastic indoor air quality for staff), low water consumption fixtures, 100,000 litre rain water storage tanks used in bus washing, flush toilets and irrigation, windows which provide natural light as well as several other energy conscious features. The building is designed to achieve a 25% reduction in energy consumption relative to the Model National Energy Codes for Buildings.
The most significant feature of the facility is the rainwater capture and storage (harvesting) system. The rainwater harvesting system collects rainwater from the 4,420 m2 roof area using gutters and rainwater leaders. The capacity of the tanks is designed to store all runoff from the roof of the building, which is screened and collected in three 38,000 litre tanks for a total storage volume of 114,000 litres. The harvested rain water supplies water to the bus wash, toilets, and irrigation systems. City water acts as a back-up system for the toilets and bus wash. Estimates indicate that 640,000 litres of water annually would be harvested using this system, providing a 72% reduction in water usage. The largest use of water in the building is for bus washing; 50% of annual bus-wash water is expected to be provided by rain water.
What Citizens of Saskatoon are doing...
- In Saskatoon, water use doubles in the summer months, with much of this increase due to lawn and garden watering. Citizens are reducing water consumption by limiting watering frequency and quantity, by watering at appropriate times, by grass-cycling, by re-thinking their lawns, and by harvesting rain water. View this video to learn more about the importance of water.
- Watering your lawn too frequently produces shallow root systems that mean your lawn is far less drought and stress tolerant. Too much water promotes weed growth and disease. Water your lawn deeply, but not more than once a week and skip a week after a good rain. If you leave footprints when you walk on your lawn it may be time to water.
- Applying the correct amount of water to your lawn will ensure it stays healthy. Lay empty tuna cans within the range of your sprinklers and time how long it takes the water level to reach the top of the cans. That’s how long you should run the sprinkler, not more than once a week.
- Watering your lawn in the early morning, before 9 a.m., reduces evaporation. Avoid watering during the heat of the day or during windy times; instead water early in the morning to minimize evaporation.
- Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn captures their moisture. Clippings are actually 90% water. View this video for more information.
- Re-thinking your lawn by landscaping with low-water or drought-tolerant plants, a practice known as xeriscaping, reduces outdoor water use.
- Harvesting rain water with rain barrels is an excellent way to conserve potable water during the summer, by utilizing precipitation for watering lawns and gardens. Rain barrels are available for purchase from the City of Saskatoon at a discounted price of $50.00. To purchase a rain barrel, bring cash or cheque to the City’s Inventory Disposal Warehouse, 202 Portage Avenue, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Supplies are limited.
- Lowering water consumption produces tangible benefits for citizens. These activities reduce pressure on the South Saskatchewan River and its ecosystems, decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with treating potable water, and minimize the significant capital investments on water treatment infrastructure otherwise required to meet growing demand.