Sustainable Water

3 comments

Water is so basic to our homes, and our bodies, part of the blood flowing through our veins, it’s easy to forget how important it is in our lives. None of us could last a week without water Yet, more than 90% of the water that goes into your house goes down the drain.In developing countries, people get by on 3 gallons a day, about a flush or two, or a load of laundry. The water your house draws comes from rivers, streams, watersheds and aquifers. Even here in the states, there just isn’t enough of it if we continue to consume as much as we do.

Water Conservation

Water Conservation

How often do you think about the water your house uses?

Probably never. And that’s ok, we all lead busy lives and trying to remember to save water on a daily basis isn’t high on the priority list for most people.

But our per capita consumption of water today is 127% higher than it was in 1950. 127%. We can do better.

The time to really think about water use is when you are building or remodeling your home.  Fortunately, we have a lot of options that conserve thousands of gallons of water each year. You can save money, reduce impact on vital habitats & restore declining fisheries from the comfort of your kitchen or bathroom with just a few simple, money saving choices.

Bathrooms

A logical place to start –  and it’s disapointing to think that older 3 gallon per flush toilets are still out there – at the absolute minimum you should buy one that only uses 1.6 gallons per flush. Other even better options include a dual flush or even an ultra low flush model.

My family of four uses the bathroom about 12 – 16 times a day (three girls, myself and the turtle). We have a 1.6 gpf, or gallon per flush, model so that adds up to about 22 gallons a day just there.

Multiply that by 365 days a year, that’s about 8,000 gallons just to remove waste from our house. This Toto toilet gives you 2 options, 1.6 gpf after having a big dinner, or .9 gpf after my 3rd cup of coffee. That tiny little switch alone can save 1,500 gallons of water per year in just your bathroom.

SO lets look at the impact. With about 20 houses on my block, if all my neighbors pitched in, that’s 30,000 gallons saved. If a municipality mandated this upgrade like, for example, the city and county of San Francisco mandated 1.6 models from the old 3 gallon ones, think what the whole city could save.

Laundry

Hey, I don’t like doing it, but it gots to get done. Top loaders use a lot of water – 20- 25, over 30 gallons per cycle. When it’s time for you to replace your laundry machine, get a front loader like this one. The agitator is on the side, the water only has to fill up to here – so a machine like this can use only a couple of gallons per cycle. How much laundry do you do a week?

A family of 4 easily does 15 loads a week. That’s more than 15,000 gallons year. An energy star rated model like this can cut 10,000 gallons out easy. Just remember, use High Efficiency soap, less water also means less soap, and “the” soap is designed for lower water using machines.

Kitchen

An energy star dishwasher can save a lot of water over older models, and like energy star laundry machines, some cities offer rebates that will reduce the cost for the new appliance. These models pay for themselves even quicker by saving electricty as well. Even something really, really simple, like this pitcher, can save water. There is no water better than the water that comes out of San Francisco taps.

If you save water in your house, tell us how. Leave us a comment! Lets work together and save this precious resource.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brad 03.28.09 at 9:54 pm

Have you come across any gray water systems available for the consumer market that can be installed into existing homes?

A great deal of the water used in the kitchen and bathrooms can be reused for toilets and irrigation.

2 schmidt 03.29.09 at 12:42 am

Sure Brad, check out the “Brac” system over in the water conservation section.

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