Want to Reduce Your Energy and Water Use? Look Into Your Bathroom

May 15, 2009

Everyone in a household will have to use the bathroom at some point in time. Everyone needs to ‘use’ the facilities, bathe, and personal grooming. But it is no secret that the bathroom is the most used room in the house by all family members and visitors alike. Since it is such a demanding energy and resource consumer, it is the perfect place to start looking at ways to reduce energy and water usage.

If your house was built or remodeled prior to 1994, it is most likely that your toilet is using twice the amount of or more water as the new water-saving models. Your shower head could be using as much as three times the amount of water as the new models as well. The misuse of water is a significant resource waste in today’s society. The waste of water means more energy is being used to heat and deliver the water to the tap. Also, it depletes the water supply available to wildlife and the ecosystem.

To save on your water and energy bills consider replacing your current bathroom fixtures with water efficient ones. The toilet is the single largest water consumer in the home. Replacing an older toilet with an ultra-low-flush model can reduce water waste by using only .8 gallons of water versus a conventional 3.4 gallon tank. This significantly reduces water use and stress on septic and sewer systems.

The shower is the second largest water consuming fixture in the bathroom. According to SAHRA (sustainability of semi-arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas) the typical non-conserving showerheads would send about 25-40 gallons of fresh water down the drain and into the sewer. By contrast, modern low-flow showerheads use only 2.6 gallons per minute, or 12.5 gallons for a 5-minute shower, reducing the water demand by at least 50 percent.

And finally, evaluate your faucet on your bathroom sink. You may not think that you use that much water from your bathroom sink, but it can average up to 2500 gallons per year that is being used. Reduced water flow can still significantly decrease the water and energy demands of a household. Relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, new faucets can be changed in not only the bathroom, but also the kitchen, garage, laundry room or other work areas a sink may be. Further water conservation can happen by turning off the water while brushing your teeth, washing your hands and dishes.

If all residential consumers take small steps in conserving water, it will go a long way in making our environments healthier.

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