For this installment of eco-friendly Friday I thought I would talk about water conservation. I live in an area that is prone to drought. Despite rainfall recently in the area, my yard has seen very little rain. According the the U.S. Drought Monitor, our area is under a moderate to severe drought. It really doesn't matter if you are under a drought condition or not, you should still conserve our most important resource: water.
There are many ways you can conserve water. I'm going to highlight some of the ways we conserve water at our house. We recently purchased a HE front load washer, which uses about 40% less water than the traditional top loading variety. I know that not everyone can afford to go out and buy a new washer (though the government will be implementing a rebate program for energy star products this fall - more info to come!) so I have other water saving recommendations.
We recently switched to a low-flow shower head in our shower. We have several stream options to choose from (one that is not water saving) that take advantage of small openings to increase the pressure. This is not a wimpy shower head! One other nice feature is the ability to "pause" the flow. This allows you to stop the flow while you soap up then return to the same temperature water while you rinse off.
Before we added a water filter to our kitchen sink, we also had a low-flow aerator on our kitchen sink. The water sprayed out harder than the traditional aerator, making it easier for us to rinse off food and soap.
We also have low-flow toilets installed in our home, but if you don't have one don't worry. You can install an adjustable flapper on most toilets to allow you to control the flow. We have ours set pretty low; it easily flushes down liquids, we just hold the lever a little longer to flush solids.
All of the fixes above (other than the new energy star washer) are quick, easy, and low cost improvements anyone can make to their home.
We also conserve some water by saving the water we run while waiting for the hot water to come into the sink. We collect this water into a large pot or bucket and then use it to water the lawn or plants around the house.
If you are interested in switching fixtures around your house out for water efficient models, look for "WaterSense" labelled products. These products meet efficiency standards set forth by the EPA (similar to EnergyStar for appliances). For more information on the WaterSense program or to find products, visit the EPA site here (or click the image above).