Water Wisdom: Creating Sustainable Home Water Systems

Water Wisdom

Water is a critical resource, yet so much about our homes is structured around wasteful water habits. From high-pressure toilets and shower heads to wasteful lawns, we wash valuable water down the drain – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Every homeowner can take steps to green their water system, through changes large and small, and demonstrate that sustainability is a priority.

Cut The Flow

low-flower shower headOne of the simplest ways that homeowners, and even renters, can reduce water waste is by changing out high-flow plumbing fixtures for low-flower shower heads, faucets, and toilets. The quality of these items has improved substantially in recent years, so you likely won’t notice a difference, especially if you add aerators to your faucets. These changes can also reduce the energy used to heat the water, cutting two forms of waste with one simple change.

Create A Greywater System

What happens to the water you use when you take a shower or run the dishwasher? Known as greywater, these forms of water waste go into the local sewage system like everything else, even though most of this water has plenty of life left in it – think flushing the toilet or watering the garden. By installing a greywater system in your home, or simply being more intentional about what you do with that used dishwater, you’ll make a dent in your water consumption. Just make sure you know how to handle greywater properly, as it must be run into the ground and shouldn’t touch the edible parts of plants.

Look For The Label

Energy Star applianceEnergy Star appliances are known for using less electricity than their standard counterparts, but that’s not all they do. Among those like dishwashers and washing machines that use water as part of their core function, these appliances can use 40% less water. When choosing appliances for your property, then, look for the Energy Star label. Like changing out your faucets, this is a change that will pay off on multiple fronts.

Landscaping Logic

If sustainability experts had our way, no one would have lawns, but we know that’s not about to happen any time soon, so whether you’ve got a lawn or a less water-intensive landscaping arrangement, it’s time to rethink your outdoor water use. If you do have a lawn or highly sensitive garden, consider combining programmable sprinklers with moisture sensors so the sprinklers don’t go off when it’s been raining. Choosing landscaping elements appropriate to the local climate will also reduce the amount of water waste – and don’t forget to collect rainwater for your plants.

Rainwater collection still isn’t a standard part of most home infrastructure, and greywater plumbing is even harder to come by, so it’s often on homeowners to make these changes themselves. By looking to regions that have been heavily impacted by droughts recently, though, homeowners can quickly discover affordable retrofits that will help meet their needs. Smart technology like leak detectors, shower timers, and irrigation controls can also help individuals track their water use and make measurable changes. We all need water, but as global use levels demonstrate, those of us in the West could use a lot less and be just fine.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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