Water Efficiency

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Looking at a picture of the earth it is hard to believe that water is an endangered resource. A closer assessment reveals that less than 1% of the water supply on earth is suitable for drinking and other everyday needs.  A typical American uses 70 gallons of water per day for indoor needs.  By installing more efficient water fixtures and checking for leaks on a regular basis, homeowners can reduce water use by about 35%.

 

 

Indoor Water Use

Faucets: By replacing standard 2.75 gpm (gallon per minute) faucets with more efficient 1.5 gpm models, an average household can save nearly 15,000 gallons of water each year.

Foot Pedals: Used primarily in hospitals and commercial kitchens, foot pedals have long been a way to prevent contamination while also conserving water.  Using foot pedals during activities such as hand washing and teeth brushing can reduce water usage by 50%.

Toilets: Toilets account for nearly 40% of all indoor water use.  Conventional toilets use 3-5 gallons per flush (gpf), low-flow toilets use 1.6 gpf, and high efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gpf.  Installing a low-flow toilet can save a household up to 16,000 gallons of water each year, which can cut water bills by a third.   Another option is a dual flush toilet.  Dual Flush toilets offer a choice between flush options, reducing the water used if it is not needed. 

Showerheads: 20% of indoor water use can be attributed to showers.  Older showerheads deliver about 5-8 gpm.   Whereas current low-flow heads spray at a rate of 2.5 gpm  with some as low as 1.6 gpm without a noticable change in pressure.

Appliances: Energy Star Dishwashers use less than 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, which saves 8 gallons of water per cycle over standard dishwashers built before 1994. High efficiency clothes washers can cut water costs in half in addition to the energy that is conserved. 

On-Demand Water Heaters: Tankless water heaters are not only useful in saving energy they also help conserve water.  Having hot water readily available prevents the need to run the shower until the water heats up. 

Greywater Systems: Greywater refers to the water generated from household activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing.  An average household sends 40,000 gallons of reusable water down the drain each year.  Using a greywater system, homeowners can recycle that water for uses such as landscape irrigation.

 

 

 

Outdoor Water Use

Water Collection Systems: Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in a barrel or tank and used for watering trees and plants. The water can also be used for drinking if treated properly.  The average American home can collect 1,400 gallons of water for every inch of rainfall. 

Landscaping: The use of native plants can save water, labor, and fertilizer because the plants are accustomed to the climate and therefore do not need much extra effort to survive. Water can also be conserved by grouping plants based on water needs eliminating the need to water the entire yard.