The effects from water conservation efforts — including saving money and reducing waste — benefit buyers and builders alike
By SALVATORE PENNACHIO
Americans are becoming more and more concerned about their water usage as several researchers have recently issued reports pointing to climate change, population growth, and drought causing water shortages in much of the United States. While high water usage in our country can be attributed to a variety of factors, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home. According to the EPA, kitchen and bathroom fixtures account for more than half (63 percent) of the total water usage in an average home.
Thankfully, there are some simple and easy- to-implement ways to reduce water consumption in residential homes.
Track your property’s water usage
Most building owners do not track how much water each residential unit uses. Without regular monitoring, leaks can occur on properties and do serious damage. Water damage can be costly to your checkbook in addition to the utility bill.
Use tools like this Water-Saving Calculator to monitor your monthly water usage and identify leaks faster.
Check for leaks
According to the EPA, 13 percent of water usage in the household goes right down the drain through leaks. Fixing these leaks is the easiest way to save an average of 10,000 gallons of water per year and about 10 percent of your water bill. Check the most common offenders first: toilets, faucets, showerheads, and outdoor faucets.
Do not waste water by letting it run Every drop counts, so encourage residents to turn off the tap. Whether you are brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing the dishes – do not let the water run. Turning off the water just while brushing your teeth can save up to eight gallons of water per day!
Reuse and recycle water
As strange as this sounds, reusing water can be a very effective way of conserving water. When waiting for a shower to heat up, collect the cold water to reuse elsewhere – like watering your plants. Also consider using leftover water from cooking and boiling.
Rethink old and inefficient toilets
Toilets are the main source of water usage inside a home. They account for nearly 30 percent of indoor water use – more if you have a leaking flapper.
As budget and environmental concerns grow, new research has found that consumers rank water conservation as the most important feature when thinking about a new toilet. Water conserving toilets not only help the environment, but they can help save money on water bills as well. Federal standards for toilets are 1.6 gallons per flush but with technology advancements there are toilets that use half of that amount.
Switching to a high-efficiency toilet that is WaterSense certified is a great start, but you can take water conservation to the next level with an ultra-high efficiency MaP Premium rated toilet that uses only 0.8 GPF. This switch can help a household save up to 13,000 gallons of water every year and reduce water usage up to 60 percent. Not only does this help the environment, but it saves hundreds on water bills as well.
Replace showerheads and aerators
A very simple way to reduce water usage on your property is to replace showerheads and faucet aerators. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute while a low-flow showerhead uses 2.0 GPM or less. Changing to a low-flow showerhead that is WaterSense certified can save up to 2,900 gallons per year per household. Faucets account for 19 percent of water usage in an average home so changing your faucet aerator to a WaterSense labeled product can save an average family up to 700 gallons of water per year.
Save money by using rebates
Many local governments offer rebates for the use of WaterSense products. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac rebates could also be available for property owners, contractors or developers who use WaterSense products. Use a Rebate Locator to find what you can qualify for.
Using these tips to reduce water use in residential homes can go a long way to help save gallons of water and provide us with a more efficient future.
Salvatore Pennachio is the Business Development and International Sales Manager at Niagara Conservation, leading the water revolution by saving the world’s water through everyday ingenuity. To learn more, please visit niagaracorp.com.