Some buildings aim to reduce reliance on the municipal water grid by treating their own water and wastewater on-site, a concept known as net-zero water. A case in point is the Bertschi School's new science building in Seattle, which reuses water washed down sinks to irrigate a 14-foot living wall. "People are recognizing the limitation of the planet and what's available," said Eden Brukman, vice president of the International Living Building Institute.

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