Making the Energy-Water Connection

Shower head, blurred, canon 1Ds mark III

We turn on the bathroom lights and the shower without realizing how closely related water and energy are to each other.

October is Energy Awareness Month, which is a good time to consider how energy, water, and money are wasted every day in our homes.

Most of us know about the importance of saving energy and water, but few of us make the connection that it takes energy to pump, heat, treat, and deliver the water we use every day.

According to the EPA WaterSense Program, American public water supply and treatment facilities consume about 56 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year—enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year.  And vast amounts of water are used to cool the power plants that generate electricity.

One of the simplest ways to save water, energy and money is to install water efficient products.  Replacing older toilets, faucets, and showerheads with WaterSense labeled appliances will save resources while ensuring product performance.

For example, just replacing a standard 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) showerhead, with a WaterSense labeled model of 2.0 gpm or less, can reduce the average family’s annual energy and water costs by more than $70 and save 2,900 gallons of water per year—the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry.

Updating that showerhead could also be easier than you think, since many Water Departments in the Neponset Watershed offer WaterSense labeled showerheads (and faucet aerators) to their residents, free of charge!

In addition, a number of our Water Departments offer generous incentives for replacing older water appliances with more water efficient models.  If you’re considering upgrading your bathroom, or if you need a new clothes washer, check with your town water department to see if they offer any rebates.  Generally, appliances need to be WaterSense labeled toilets of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) or less, and clothes washers need to be Energystar rated, with a water factor of 4.5 or less.

EPA promolabel_blue_look(1)All WaterSense labeled products are tested and independently certified to ensure they meet EPA’s criteria for both efficiency and performance.  Look for the WaterSense label when making your purchase.

For more information on the WaterSense Program:  www.epa.gov/watersense

Nancy Fyler, Water Conservation Coordinator

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