Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Architecture




James Doerfler


This thesis will explore different water conservation strategies and systems in the residential home, using the city of Irvine as a basis. The thesis will compare the financial implications between the different systems and as a return on investment. The analysis will also account for ecological and social implications on the occupants, in particular their standard of living and lifestyle changes. The thesis will explore the ability to conserve water in new residential construction and will provide a sustainable and conscientious schematic water design for the particular area of concern.

This thesis will act as a preliminary case study for a water system in a California residential home. It will address the entire lifecycle of water after it arrives on site, to the use of the water and eventual expenditure. A comprehensive design solution will be proposed, based on the body of knowledge in the field and the research findings. The design will also evaluate the alternatives of different systems, in terms of: catchment, treatment, filtering, reuse, and for returning the used water back into nature (sometimes through a municipal system). It is expected that the proposed system will inform the occupants of their water usage, and simultaneously control and reduce water usage levels.

As part of the final proposal, a detailed analysis will be provided of the entire water system. It will involve a critical analysis of existing systems as well as the application of the new design. The thesis will highlight how decisions were made based on the criteria that would affect the occupants, allowing for future adaptations of the solution to projects or case studies with different standards. The end-product of the research will be a baseline development that can be further explored as technology and demand change in the future, and when on-site water systems become more abundant and better understood.