As we remodel our homes and businesses or when we build new structures, we are continually looking for ways to remain comfortable while reducing our environmental impact. Solar panels and energy efficient appliances are becoming more commonplace in new homes, and building regulations and incentives are constantly steering us towards these options.
While these products do a great job of reducing energy usage, did you know you can also make your plumbing systems more eco-friendly? Aside from just reducing your impact on the environment, these changes can also provide time and money saving benefits.
Energy Saving Water Pipes
Pipes that are the right size for their purpose and made of the right materials will improve water pressure, minimize leakage, and reduce heat loss for hot water supply. Steel or PEX pipes (cross-linked polyethylene that is flexible rather than rigid) maintain heat well and are durable so they will last longer, reducing the need for additional materials. If you are using plastic or copper pipes, you can add pipe insulators, which are relatively cheap. This can also reduce heat loss by 80%. If your pipes are insulated to keep the heat in, you will not need to use as much energy to heat your water, which is more eco-friendly.
Water Saving Toilets
Eco-friendly toilets are a great way to help protect the environment. These can be inexpensive and can also significantly reduce your water bill. Some “green” toilets use 20% to 60% less water compared to their classic counterparts, so they will also save you money on your water bill. The most recent models do not lose any of the functionality of older toilets, but will significantly reduce water consumption. Some feature dual functions so that you can select the amount of water flow based on your present need. This ensures that your toilet functions well, while also being as environmentally friendly as possible.
Faucets and Showerheads
Water-efficient showerheads are now widely available. Flow-optimizing or water-saving showerheads can significantly reduce water flow up to 1.75 GPM (gallons per minute) compared to the standard flow of water at 2.5 GPM. You will use 30% less water when compared with traditional showerheads. Eco-friendly faucets at the sink can also significantly reduce your water use. Newer faucets give good water pressure with less water output. These fixtures can be inexpensive and easy to install. In addition to reducing water consumption, like the other options, this eco-friendly solution also decreases costs.
Energy Efficient Water Heater
As water heaters age, they often start to lose efficiency because of leaks, poor insulation, or failing parts. New water heaters come in a variety of energy-efficient options. Tankless water heaters are a particularly good option. They save space and work by rapidly heating the water as it passes through an exchanger. On average, they save homeowners around $80 annually and are about 22% more efficient than regular water heaters. Due to evolving technology, even regular, tank-style water heaters that are now available on the market, are more efficient than heaters that were sold even just a few years ago.
Outdoor Water System
Lawns and landscaping account for 30% of the water used in the United States, so conservation in this area is very important. Outdoor watering systems that are eco-friendly can still allow you to maintain a beautiful, inviting, and cost-effective landscape. You can install an outdoor tank to collect rain for use in landscaping. Irrigation systems that schedule watering so that it will efficiently nourish the vegetation but avoid wasting water are beneficial. Timed watering during points of the day when less water will evaporate or runoff is also critical. Finally, drip systems are often far better than spray systems.
If you’re thinking about making your plumbing system more eco-friendly, your local plumber, Magnificent Plumbing is your best resource. By identifying piping, fittings, and appliances that can be updated or repaired, your plumber can help you achieve a more eco-friendly plumbing system focused on energy and water conservation.