Water Efficiency

Water Efficiency 

NEWS - JULY 2021


Water Efficiency


Save money while conserving our valuable resources.


Water effiiency
 

IF YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEWS, you know that large areas of the country are in drought conditions, with states and cities urging homeowners to reduce their water consumption. Additionally, energy concerns in many areas are also impacting how and when we use major appliances and irrigation systems and almost every other sub-system in our homes.

So it seems intuitive to point out that improving water efficiency in your home will decrease your water usage and save you money. And remember, water heating can account for nearly a quarter of the energy consumed in your home. Meanwhile, toilets account for almost a third of an average home’s indoor water consumption. All of us can take steps to conserve water without sacrificing conveniences by fixing leaky toilets, installing low-flow showerheads and reusing water. Here are some thoughts on what we can recommend to clients when it comes to remodels, vacation homes and rental properties.

 

Greywater
Any hot water that goes down the drain carries energy with it in the form of heat. That means 80 to 90 percent of the energy used to heat water in your home is wasted as it flows down the drain. Drain-water (or greywater) heat recovery systems solve this problem by capturing the energy and using it to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. This lets your water heater heat more water and allows you to lower your water heater’s temperature. Such drain-water heat recovery systems cost between $300 and $500 and have a two-and-a-half to seven-year payback time. Greywater systems allow you to reuse up to 60 percent of your household water for purposes of irrigating your lawn and flushing toilets. If you build a new house, especially in an arid region, you might consider installing a greywater system, which may be custom designed and built, or purchased as a package. Check with your local building code agency to see if greywater systems are allowed in your area. Even if greywater is not currently allowed where you live, you can build a diverter system that will make it much easier — and cheaper — to install a full system in the future.


Getting Solar Done
Getting Solar Done

Low Flow Toilets
The toilet is the single biggest water user in your home. Flushing accounts for about 38 percent of the water used within your home each day. Replacing an old model toilet with a new low-consumption toilet could automatically and permanently cut your home water consumption by 25 percent or more.

Many state codes require that all new or replacement installations of two-piece tank-type and floor-mounted flushometer toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. These toilets are called low-consumption or low-flush. If in doubt, consult a licensed plumber for the best recommendation.

 

Water Efficient Appliances
Thinking about replacing that old, worn-out clothes washing machine? High efficiency clothes washers save water, energy and space in your home. Most are front-end loaders that use tumbling action to get clothes clean. Look for the Energy Star Label to ensure that you're buying the most efficient product possible. Consider this:

- High efficiency clothes washers use 30 – 50 percent less water. For a family of four, that's 5,000 gallons per year!
- They use 50 – 60 percent less energy to run.
- They require one-third less detergent.
- Your clothes will get less wear and tear in a high efficiency washer.
- They'll need less time in the dryer, too.

High-Efficiency Dishwashers
You can spend less money on water and spend less time in the kitchen if you switch to a high-efficiency dishwasher. Again, the Energy Star label will point you to the best water-savers.

High efficiency dishwashers use about six - 10 gallons of water per load of dishes (some use as little as 3.7 gallons). Compare that to nine - 12 gallons per load for average dishwashers and 20 gallons for hand washing. Many newer models require little or no pre-rinsing of dishes – that's more water and time saved.

Deploying efficient water/energy appliances and re-purposing greywater are simple, cost-effective ways to conserve two precious resources that are making headlines across the country – water and energy. Get smart and save some money at the same time.