Contributed by Nora DePalma
Over the past few weeks, the Green Chix blog has focused on the issue of saving water and why it's so important, both in the U.S. and on a global level. We've asked you to call a plumber about that leaky faucet, already, and shared tips for saving water outdoors and in.
If you're ready to take action and make your home the most water wise house on the block, here are a few key changes you can make that are worth your time, energy, and cold hard cash.
Become an Energy Star. Even if your old washing machine is working just fine, or you are crazy enough to actually enjoy washing dishes by hand, upgrading to an ENERGY STAR-rated washing machine or dishwasher can save hundreds of gallons of water each year. More efficient washing machines use about half the amount of water and 30% less energy than a standard machine. ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers save an average of 1,300 gallons of water over the lifetime of the machine. Over time, these appliances can pay for themselves in savings on your water and electricity bills.
Know the score on a new toilet. By now you know to look for the WaterSense label when shopping for a new toilet, but also check the toilet's score on the MaP Test, or Maximum Performance Test, to be sure you are getting the best performance for your money. This voluntary test rates the amount of, well, "material" a toilet can reliably clear from the bowl in a single flush. This means you can be sure your 1.6 gallon per flush toilet will work properly with only 1.6 gallons of water every time.
Ready for a rain barrel? To get the most bang for your buck, choose a basic system that diverts the downspout from your gutters into a covered rain barrel. Make sure the barrel you choose has an overflow outlet that will allow excess water to flow out in a managed way, ideally through a hose that will carry the water away from the foundation of your house. (Can you guess why this is important?)
The elephant in our front yards. Did you know Americans use roughly ten thousand gallons of water per summer for each one thousand square feet of lawn? Eeek! Lists of regionally appropriate plants are available on the EPA's website. Not only are native plants beautiful, but they'll require less work to maintain their good looks because they are already perfectly adapted to grow in your yard.
Twist your way to savings. If there isn't room in your budget for a new appliance or toilet this year, then installing faucet aerators on all your bathroom sinks is a great way to save lots of water at a minimal cost - aerators typically cost only a few dollars each. The EPA estimates that if every household in America switched to WaterSense-certified faucets or faucet aerators, we'd save 60 billion gallons of water every year.
GreenChix move on next month to Green Cleaning and Design. Join the GreenChix community on Facebook and commit to small, but meaningful changes for our planet.
Posted: 3/28/2012 11:30:52 PM by
Heather Wallace | with 0 comments