Water: Finite Resource, Infinite Opportunities for Innovation
Access to fresh ground water for homes impacted by global warming and aging infrastructure
By: Erin Woodward*, Global Sustainability Leader
While freshwater is often out of sight – literally, under our feet – its impact is visible everywhere.
The majority of our planet's freshwater goes to agriculture and industrial purposes, leaving just 11% for use in the home. And two main threats are putting more pressure on our most precious resource: the increase in global population and the increase in natural disasters caused by climate change.
When you couple those two things with supply chain interruptions, communities can be left with a lack of available resources and very real challenges.
Water Issues Impacting the Globe
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wet areas are getting wetter, dry areas drier, and rain events are occurring in extremes. While the amount of rainfall remains consistent year after year, those amounts are condensed into shorter periods of time, placing strain on infrastructure for flood mitigation and management.
For example, in the western portion of the United States, residents there are experiencing a megadrought that started in 2000; it is now the region's driest stretch in more than 12 centuries and it is expected to last until 2030. While droughts have occurred naturally throughout history, the new study in Nature Climate Change states that climate change is making droughts more frequent and more intense.
The situation is tragic: not only is access to freshwater becoming more scarce and unreliable, our man-made infrastructure is failing and causing additional leakages and loss. In the U.S., there are 2.2 million miles of aging, underground pipes that deliver water to residents. Unfortunately, there is a water main break every two minutes and an estimated six billion gallons of treated water lost each day.
The more information we have about the amount of water lost, the more we can potentially innovate and change our behavior to conserve it. Luckily, trending interest in smart homes helps - consumers are spending more on adding comfort, conveniences and entertainment at home and many of these devices and services can help manage, and make more efficient, our home water and energy usage.
Resideo Helps Lessen Water Crisis
Companies like Resideo are investing in water-saving technology to help save our freshwater resources.
Homeowners are buying more smart home products, and not only do we want to ensure those products and solutions are interoperable, we also want to help conserve water and energy use, which impacts the homeowners’ wallet as much as those resources themselves. Smart solutions can change our behavior and we may not even need to think about it. For example, Resideo recently launched a smart water shutoff valve that can turn off the water coming into your home if it detects that a pipe is leaking, which can help prevent catastrophic water damage and lessen water waste.
Resideo is incorporating these changing trends of natural and human behavior into our long-term strategies. Water is finite, and our job is to make water "smarter" by helping to control the use and reuse of it, without sacrificing safety and comfort. Our solutions are designed to help control the energy use in heating, cooling and circulating water products, such as pool pumps, to enable a true whole-home sustainable solution.
For example, In 2021, Resideo water leak detectors helped stop an estimated 2.4 million gallons of water leaks and prevented $2.6 million in insurance claims. That's roughly enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 3.6 times.
In addition, Resideo's EvoHome smart hydronic heating system available in Europe allows the homeowner to individually control up to 12 heating zones and control domestic hot water; with touchscreen control, the homeowner can quickly gain control of exactly where and when the property should be heated.
With 6 billion gallons of water lost each day through aging infrastructure, and household leaks wasting nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually in the U.S., the opportunities for efficient innovation are endless. Resideo is helping lead the charge to make both groundwater, and the energy used to access it, not only visible but also understood and managed.
For additional tips on how to curb your home’s water use, read this article.
*Erin Woodward is based in Minnesota and served as a municipal development volunteer in the U.S., Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador, Central America. She leads sustainability for Resideo’s Products & Solutions business, where she champions bringing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) into the business strategy and innovation pipeline. Erin sat on the steering committee for the Sustainable Growth Coalition, a business led partnership building collaborative circular economy projects to advance clean energy and protect and restore the natural water cycle.
Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Spanish from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.
**According to Resideo software data from its 44,560 global water leak detection devices from Jan 1, 2021-Dec 31, 2021. Average water claim in the U.S., is $6,965.