Category Archives: Water Conservation

Water Saving Tips

 

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Fix leaks.  The most common fixture that leaks is the toilet flapper.  Checking for leaks should be part of your overall maintenance plan and should be done on a regular basis. Perform a water audit. Take a look at your water meter when no one is likely to be using water.  If the meter is moving, you have a leak.

Install water-saving devices. Can you transform your single flush toilets to dual flush with a kit?  How about installing a Smart Faucet in every bathroom?  The EPA has rolled a complete line of water saving fixtures under its WaterSense label, however, but these are merely minimums.  Individuals should go beyond the minimum by installing 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) shower heads when the WaterSense minimum allows shower heads with flow rates of 2.5gpm.  Rebates may also be available from your local utility to promote the installation of new high efficiency toilets that utilize 1.28 gallons per flush or better.

Upgrade to water saving appliances. Old dishwashers and top-loading washing machines are incredible inefficient, utilizing as much as 25 gallons per load of dishes and 35 gallons of water per load of laundry.  New high-efficiency models utilize a fraction of the water. Dishwashers in the two gallon range are very effective and front-loading washing machines use about a third of the water of what top-loaders use and rebates may be available.  The less water an appliance uses, the less electricity and natural gas that will be needed to heat that water.

Rethink landscaping. Plant what’s appropriate for your region and you will reduce water consumption, increase habitat for native species and raise the value of your property.  Re-landscaping is a big expense, but you are paying to water and maintain plants every year, year and year out, when you could be pocketing the money you currently budget for water.

 

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What’s In Your Water?

Water pollution remains a constant concern in many US communities. This guide can be helpful in understanding what contaminants that could be in your water. You should contact your water utility if you suspect something is wrong.

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Green Product Review: Smart Faucet

This Smart Faucet eliminates water waste by providing water only exactly when it’s needed  (in the beginning and end of the hand-washing event), and automatically shuts off the water while you’re lathering up, which saves water and heat.  No more constant adjustment with the hot and cold temperature setting trying to get the right temperature, as it is set at the desired heat setting.  The best feature of this product is that it’s made to retrofit directly on to your existing hardware.

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The Smart Faucet is a 1.5gpm (gallons per minute) aerator with an antimicrobial handle that controls water flow from the faucet. Water only flows when the handle is depressed, although there is a locking disk for continuous flow when needed.

The Smart Faucet requires no batteries or electricity to control consumption and is produced and packaged in the United States. The Smart Faucet can save up to 15,000 gallons when compared with the use of a standard 2.5gpm aerator. The Smart Faucet is an example of a low-tech solution that can save lots of resources and educate at the same time.

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Bathroom Water Saving Tips

Bathroom Water Saving Tips

Approximately 35% – 40% of household water use originates from the bathroom. By using a few of these water saving bathroom tips you can reduce water consumption in your bathroom.

If you are planning on renovating your bathroom or building a new bathroom there are a few items that you should consider that can help you conserve water and save money on electricity and water bills. Toilets are the largest water-using fixture inside the home. By installing more efficient 1.6 gallon per flush or less toilets, you can save thousands of gallons of water per toilet, per year.

How to Measure water flow rate

To find out the current water saving qualities of your bathroom taps and shower you can calculate their flow rate. Run a tap for 10 seconds into a bucket and multiply the amount by 6 to find out the flow rate per minute. For example, to find out how much water your shower head is consuming you can put a bucket under the shower. Turn it on for 10 seconds before turning it off. Measure the amount of water captured in the bucket, then multiply the amount by 6. This will give you the shower head flow rate per minute, if it is over 2 gallons of water per minute you should install a water saving shower head.

Shower Water Conservation

Older shower heads can use 5 gallons of water per minute. By installing a new water efficient shower head you drastically reduce the water your shower consumes. A 3 star shower head will use less than 2 gallons of water a minute, saving 12 gallons of water per person, per shower. This amounts to approximately 5,000 gallons of water per year per person. So for the approximate $15 cost of a water efficient shower head you could potentially save yourself around $100 in water bills. You can also capture the initial cold shower water in a bucket for use in water plants or garden.

Water Saving Toilet

Around 15% of household water is flushed down the toilet. Older toilets use around 3gallons of water per flush. There are a range of 4 star dual flush toilets that use around 1 gallon of water for a full flush and 3/4 gallon for a half flush.

Water Saving Bath

A short 4 minute shower will use less cold and hot water than having a bath. If you do have a bath then only fill it to a level that just covers your body. If you use natural soaps or detergents in your bath you can bucket the water out and use it to water your garden.

Sink water saving tips

A running tap can use approximately 4 gallons of water a minute. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. If shaving put some water into the sink to wash your blade instead of running the tap continuously. By installing flow restrictors or water saving taps you can reduce the water usage when you turn on the tap to brush your teeth or lather your hands with soap.

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Is a 3 Minute Shower Possible?

A shorter shower not only saves water, but also saves on the energy used to heat that water. A typical non-conserving shower head will spray over five gallons per minute (GPM), so reducing shower time from eight  to three minutes can save 25 gallons of water. That’s over 9 thousand gallons per year, per person. This number can also be reduced further by installing a low flow shower head, which can further reduce the water usage. 

For many people, the thought of a 3 minute shower, does not seem out of reach. But individuals who have a great deal of hair to shampoo and condition along with shaving becomes a bit more difficult, but not impossible. You can turn off or restrict (shower shutoff valve) the flow of water during conditioning, lathering and shaving to conserve water. These few water saving tips will save you money and make you feel good about your impact on the environment.

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How Rain Barrel Use Can Save You Money

How Rain Barrel Use Can Help Save You Money Why pay for outdoor water use during dry days when, in most locations, more than enough rain falls right on your roof? Rain in barrels are a time-tested way of collecting water for reuse. Runoff water from your roof, which normally flows onto your lawn or down your driveway and out into the street, can be collected in rain barrelbarrels and used for watering your lawn and garden during rain free times.  The collection and reuse of rainwater can help the environment, but there are also financial benefits for implementing a rain capture strategy. Here are a few ways you can save with rain barrel usage:

  • Reduce dependence upon city or well water by as much as 40% or more, therefore reducing your water bill
  • Possibly avoid water restrictions with a ready back-up water source in times of drought or between rain showers
  • Increase the health of your soil by watering the yard and plants with rainwater, minus the many harmful chemical contaminants (minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemical contaminants).

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Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

The bottle water industry exceeds $100 billion in revenue worldwide per year. The industry promotes bottle water as being a safe water option, but in reality bottled water is expensive, resource intensive and poses possible general health concerns.

Here are several reasons to reconsider the use of bottled water:

  1. Not Healthier -  Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water. Since most water does not cross state lines, in many cases it is exempt from FDA oversight, while the water in your local municipal water system is regulated by the EPA. Municipal water systems are regularly tested bacteria and toxic chemicals.
  2. Resource Intensive - In the US, it takes the equivalent of more than 18 million barrels of oil to manufacture the bottles needed for the US bottled water industry. The energy and fuel costs needed to ship the the bottled water is also extremely expensive for a product that is readily available  from your own tap.
  3. Purchase Price - The purchase price for bottled water can range as high as the equivalent of $10 gallon when purchased from retail and vending machines. Compare this to gasoline that is less than $4 per gallon.
  4. Clean up Costs - It is estimated that is costs more than $80 million to clean up the more than 4 billion bottles that pass through the US wast stream.
  5. Waste - in the United States, less than 20% of PET bottles are recycled, resulting in over 1.2 million tons of plastic waste in US landfills.

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Top Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Compost, Compost, Compost.  Start a compost pile or the use of a compost bin and make the most of your food scraps and lawn trimmings. 

2. Give Up Bottled Water. The production of plastic water bottles and the impact on landfills is significant. The long-term hazards of drinking from plastic bottles is still not fully known.

3. Walk Or Ride Your Bike. – walk your kids to school, walk or ride your bike to work and short errands. Reduce your carbon footprint and tone up by ditching the car keys.

4. Commit to Conservation. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don’t overheat or overcool your home–a few degrees make a huge difference. Use a clothesline or manual spin dryer to dry your clothes instead using the dryer.

5. Turn it off – turn off those appliances. Turn off the lights you aren’t using. Switch the TV off at the plug each night and don’t leave your laptops and mobiles plugged in all day everyday. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will notice a difference in your energy bill.

6. Plant a tree or small plant. -  If you have a yard, plant a tree in your yard. If you do not have a yard, make a windowsill planter with a small plant. If every house in America planted one tree in their yard, it would improve air quality by 40 percent.

 7. Insulate your home. - By insulating your home you can cut your energy use dramatically. It follows that you’ll save yourself lots of money too.

 8. Start Recycling. – Get everyone involved. You can recycle not only consumer waste, but old clothes can be given new life by donating to a worthy cause.

9. Be an Green Advocate. – Teach those around you – Make sure your family, your children and your friends know the importance of making small changes in their lives that can considerably reduce their carbon footprint.

10. Ditch the Aerosol. - Stop using aerosol cans when possible. Aerosol cans deplete the ozone layer. Use spray bottles instead.

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Best Time to Replace Your Washer

When to Replace Your Washer

 If your washer is over ten years old, you could be paying more than $150 in additional energy costs per year. Consider replacing your old washer with one that is Energy Star qualified and reap the following benefits:
  • Reduce water usage to 30-35 gallons of water per load to 10-20 gallons.
  • The agitator has been removed in newer models allowing for more space for larger loads.
  • Take the savings from the reduced energy and water usage to buy a new energy efficient dryer.

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