Role of Educational Strategies for Human Resources in Green Infrastructure Operation and Maintenance

Friday, 19 December 2014
Ghazal Ebrahimi1, Boris Thurm2 and Gunilla Öberg1, (1)University of British Columbia, IRES, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Rainwater harvesting and water reuse are receiving increasing attention as they hold the potential to effectively improve water conservation efforts. While many technical solutions have been developed, alternative water systems in built environments face significant challenges in the implementation and operational phases. The aim of this study is to examine obstacles to the implementation of alternative water systems in practice and identify criteria of feasible and sustainable solutions that allow bypassing of the identified obstacles. Interviews were conducted with planners, system designers and operators to find out which factors that central actors believe influence successful implementation of such systems. The results were analyzed in light of the literature. The actual performance of the water harvesting and reuse systems in four recently built green buildings in the Province of British Columbia, Canada was analyzed in light of the predicted outcome, according to the criteria identified in the interviews. It was found that the major obstacle to success is that the practical challenges involved in the implementation of alternative systems are underestimated. This, for example, leads to that education strategies for operational staff are not developed, and the staff is left floundering. This study highlights the importance of recognizing the need for strategic and directed educational programs for the human resources who are involved in operating and maintaining rainwater harvesting and water reuse systems.