Water effciency and management in sustainable building rating systems: Examining variation in criteria usage

Jamal Al-Qawasmi*, Muhammad Asif, Ahmed Abd El Fattah, Mohammad O. Babsail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The building sector, due to the significant energy and environmental footprints it creates, needs to adopt sustainable approaches to help prevent global warming and climate change. Sustainable Building (SB) rating systems have been developed around the world as a method to promote sustainability in this sector. Water is one of the most vital natural resources, and is extensively consumed in the building sector. This article examines the coverage of water-related aspects in 11 prominent SB rating systems under the three key sustainability dimensions: environmental, economic, and social, using a comprehensive coverage analysis approach. Findings highlight a wide range of variation between the examined SB rating systems in terms of water attributes being assessed, water assessment criteria used, the optimal number of these criteria, and the weight assigned to them. Results also show that in general, most of the examined systems exhibit low representativeness and comprehensive coverage of major water subcategories and themes related to sustainable buildings. However, some moderate to high comprehensive coverage was found in water attributes that focus on the environmental and social aspects. The results indicate that representative and comprehensive coverage of social-related water attributes are less than that of environment-related water attributes. The results also highlighted the effectiveness of using coverage analysis techniques as a systematic and effcient way to assess comprehensive coverage of water criteria in SB rating systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2416
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the National Plan for Science, Technology, and Innovation, King Abdulaziz city for Science and Technology, through the science and technology unit at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, grant number 13-BUI2192-04.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Dry regions
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable building rating systems
  • Sustainable buildings
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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