How to Make a Big Impact: Water

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What Does Less Look Like?

Let’s revisit the 69.3 gallons of water that most American households are using daily. What if everyone worked together to reduce that amount? This is where investments and consumer decisions come in to play. According to the AWWA, “By installing more efficient water fixtures and regularly checking for leaks, households can reduce daily per capita water use by about 35 percent to about 45.2 gallons per day.” This means some major reductions in the categories discussed above.


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Before any major investment occurs, checking out your Return On Investment (ROI) is an important factor. If you do decide that water conservation is the big step you want to take this year, check out EcoAcademy’s GreenandSave ROI Table.

For example, if you wanted to tackle the issue of faucets, GreenandSave explains that “low flow faucets have aerators in them to cut your water usage. These faucets use as much as 40 percent less water than conventional faucets, or about 2.5 gallons per minute compared to four.”

With its ROI Calculation based on four low-flow faucets, you can calculate the ROI for that new faucet in your kitchen, two bathrooms and wet bar. Below are some of the top items/projects to check out:

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  1. Excellent points…as follow-up….

    Just turn the dial on your washer…

    Simply heating the water to wash clothes amounts to 90% of the washing machine’s power consumption. The best way to save money when you are doing the laundry is to wash clothes in cold water. When used with cold-water detergent, washing in cold water is actually better for your clothes. Oily stains that require hot water for removal can be switched from hot to warm still saving energy and doing a good job of cleaning your laundry.

    Green or Greedy?

  2. Great article. My understanding though was that outdoor water usage contributed the most to our wasteful water habits. The article stated that 69.3 gallons is from indoor water usage, but what do we use outside?

    1. Great Question Erica!

      According to the EPA “Outdoor Water Use in the United States”, the average American family of four can use up to 120 gallons of water for outdoor purposes a day!! That is a huge amount and a lot of simple things (proper watering schedules, rain-delay systems and region specific planting) can help cut that down. Check out the EPA link for more info on how to save water outdoors.

  3. Good Info. I would like to know what options we have for getting hot water to a faucet sooner, without wasting about 5 gal of water down the drain( in my case).

    1. Good Idea Bob,

      During my research I came across this – “According to one study, done in Southern California, a typical family of four can save up to 10,000 gallons per year by installing a hot water circulating system. Grundfos, a major manufacturer of hot water circulating systems states on their website that homeowners can save up to 16,000 gallons per year with a circulating system.” –

      I would check out these systems to save water and energy. Good luck!

  4. 26% of the indoor water is being flushed. It may sound weird but I don’t think you need to flush every time you tinkle. If you absolutely have to flush every time, try keeping a gallon pitcher of H2O in the bathroom and use that to flush instead of dumping gallons from the toilet tank. Japanese toilet flush levers swing two ways “small” for urine and “big” for poop; much more efficient.
    There are so many ways to reduce your water consumption, Americans just think they have a never ending supply of everything.

  5. If you are going to replace your faucet aerators with low flow you should consider going even lower than 2.5 gallons per minute flow rates. There are aerators that go as low as .5 gallons per minute. You may need higher flow rates in the kitchen but in the bathroom faucets I would consider going lower than 2.5, it’s a personal preference. Here is a link to some examples you can not buy on the site but it will give you an idea of what to look for at the hardware store.

  6. Pingback: How to Make a Big Impact: Water - | H2O Report

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