In this study different water saving measures (structural and non-structural) were implemented in different urban buildings. A monitoring program of water consumption was carried out to verify and compare the effectiveness of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and educational programs in different types of buildings (two residential houses, two Middle Schools and two Sport Centres) located in a drought experienced region (Sicily, Italy). In all cases, relevant water conservation percentages were achieved with prominent values in public buildings. The highest water conservation (up to 60%) was observed in two Middle Schools, where a large amount of water was wasted. Overall, the structural measures led to high water conservation, while the educational programs did not always improve the water saving effectiveness. These results highlight that in some urban areas the awareness of water conservation is not well established and large volumes of water are wasted, especially in public buildings, due to faulty plumbing fixtures. Governments and Environmental Agencies should promote with more effort water saving measures in order to support green building policy and global sustainability.
Keywords: public buildings, public perception, residential buildings, water conservation, water consumption