How to Conserve Water

How to Save Water in Your Home

Access to high-quality water may become one of the most important issues facing us in the 21st century. Water is intimately linked with the resource consumption in your home. Not only does it take energy  to collect, treat and distribute water, water use also affects  your energy bills through the consumption of hot water. Water conservation therefore provides the opportunity to save twice: on water bills and on energy bills.

The single biggest average water user is the yard, followed by toilets and showers. The best way to reduce water use due to clothes washing is through the purchase of a front-loading washer. Learn more about saving water and energy by reading our Energy Efficient Washer and Dryer.  

 

Water efficient toilets

Responsible for 32 percent of your water consumption, toilets are the single largest users of water inside your home. Replacing your conventional toilet for water savings has a payback of 11 years if your current toilet consumes 3.5 gallons per flush, and five years if your toilet consumes seven gallons per flush. Even higher savings can be achieved using a dual-flush toilet, which has a 1.6-gallon and a 0.8-gallon flush mode — for example, the Caroma Royale (sustainablesolutions.com).

Carbon Buster/Miser Recommendation:

  • Buy two low flush (1.6-gallon) toilets to replace 3.5-gallon toilets.
  • 5-year savings: $207, 662 lbs. CO2, 102,000 gallons of drinking water.
  • Lifetime savings: $826, 2,600 lbs. CO2, assuming life of 20 years.
  • New cost: $450; $300 for two low-flush toilets using 1.9 gallons each,
  • $150 for installation.
  • Payback new: 10.9 years. IRR: 6.6 %. CROI: 5.9 lbs./$.

Checking for toilet leaks

There is an easy and quick method to check if your toilet seal is leaky and needs to be replaced: simply put a few drops of red food coloring into your toilet tank.  Wait five to ten minutes, and check your toilet bowl:  if the water in the toilet bowl has turned pink, you need to replace your tank seal.

Composting toilets

Modern composting toilets work extremely well, and can eliminate one-third of your interior water use. Good composting toilets are not cheap (around $4,000 to  $5,000). However, they can be extremely cost-effective if you are not connected to a city sewer, and would need to spend $15,000 on a septic field as an alternative.  Access: Phoenix composting toilet:  compostingtoilet.com

Cost: Two people PF-199 $4,200, four people: PF-200 $4,600, eight people: PF-201 $5,300

 

Quick Facts:

  • 40 percent of all toilets leak. Just pour a few drops of red food coloring into your toilet tank to check if yours does.
  • “Nothing is too good for my toilet bowl.” Old standard water commodes waste seven gallons of extensively processed, high-quality drinking water per flush.

 

Water efficient showers

Showers are the second largest water user in the house after toilets. High-efficiency, low-flow showerheads provide excellent paybacks (around six months), since they save you water as well as heating fuel. Access: realgoods.com

Baths

Currently, there is no technology to reduce water usage in the bath (other than bathing with a friend).

 

Conserving yard water usage

One way to drastically lower your water consumption is to redesign your yard to nature-scaping, or through xeriscaping.  Native vegetation provides better habitats for native plants and animals. Native plants are also well adapted to your local climate, tend to be much tougher, and generally require far less water. Xeriscaping takes this one step further by providing you with a yard that needs little or no water through the use of landscaping features like rocks or pinecones, and drought-adapted plants. 









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