Healthy Homes

The value of water efficiency

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 14:37

In the quest to make your home energy efficient with the best heating system or light bulbs to cut down on unnecessary costs, it's important to consider all factors to transform your house into a green building. Radiant heaters may save on your bill every month and solar panels might provide you with some cheap electricity, but is that enough to really be sustainable? While wasting water may not be the first thing on everyone's mind when talk of saving money comes up, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average family could save up to $350 a year by simply upgrading appliances and water fixtures to more water conservative models. Many people in the world do not have the luxury of a never​-ending flow of water with the simple turn of a faucet, according to Treehugger, so every minute you let the sink run while you're brushing your teeth is nothing but pure excess. 
What it can save you

Not only will efficient use affect your water bill, it will also save you money for heating it too. The EPA states that warming water for anything from showering to making a pot of coffee makes up a third of your energy bill. To have a house with minimal waste of resources and money, you need to make sure that not just one aspect of its design is eco-friendly, but all are. With people all over the globe still struggling to get drinking water in their daily lives, sometimes having to travel miles to get it, it's our responsibility to be as effective as possible.

As time goes on and populations grow, drinkable water is just going to become harder and harder to find. Fixing dripping sinks and replacing wasteful shower heads can have an accumulative effect on savings while also using science to increase overall performance of the rate at which it flows. These new fixtures can give you better pressure for less water.

When communities use less water, their supplies are kept to a greater surplus. This aids in the prevention of droughts while also allowing the animals and wildlife that depend on those water levels a safe amount to protect them. Higher volumes of water help dilute pollution in water sources whether it be caused by people or nature so that it doesn't reach a poisonous intensity for anyone drinking it.

How you can help

There are many things you can do to lower your consumption of Earth's most valuable resource. Much of what you can do relies on making conscious decisions to eliminate waste from your life and is just a matter of you taking action. Merely taking shorter showers, fixing leaky faucets and only running dishwashers and laundry machines when fully loaded are small steps that can have far-reaching consequences beneficial to the ecosystem around you.

Gearing your lawn to a more modest representation of plant life that's resistant to water shortages eliminates the need for you to water it yourself and instead relies on rainfall. This will save you the effort of maintaining it while also utilizing precipitation. Other small efforts you can make to create a more sustainable yard is surrounding your trees and bushes with mulch to better keep in the moisture for longer periods of time and setting up some form of tank to contain the runoff water of your roof. A small personal reservoir kept in your yard is an excellent way to eliminate the costs of upkeep for your lawn altogether, according to Inhabitat.

There are many methods to positively impact the world and ensuring you waste as little as possible. While there is always more you can do, like treating your own water with natural fungus and algae, small steps go a long way. The next time you leave the shower running to wait for it to warm up, keep in mind the cost doing so will have not only on you, but on the planet as well.