In order to reduce the amount of water used, many companies are developing new, viable products that accomplish the same tasks using much less water than their predecessors. Some of these products include:
Dual Flush Toilets – Unlike a typical toilet, Dual flush units have an innovative system that allows for two different amounts of water based on need. The first flush typically delivers about .8 gallons of water, saving about 1 gallon per flush. The second flush delivers 1.6 gallons, the normal amount of water a typical toilet delivers. In a given day, a family of 4 can save about 20 gallons of water, depending on usage. (Additional Cost ~$70-120 depending on manufacturer and wholesaler)
Low-flow Shower head – Delivering about 1.75 gallons per minute, technology has dramatically improved over the past few years to deliver the water in such a way as to not feel like you are stepping into mist, as opposed to a shower. Water savings is about 30% over a conventional unit, saving about 20 gallons of water for a family of 4. (Additional Cost ~$20/shower)
Low-Flow Faucets – Faucets typically flow at about 2.2 gallons per minute. Their slim sister reduces flow to about 1.5 gallons per minute. Side-by-side comparisons show little difference when used by consumers and industry professionals. Water savings will vary greatly depending on your typical usage, for our purposes and to complete the example above, we will use about 10 gallons for our sample family per day. (Some faucet manufacturer include this feature at no cost beginning this year, otherwise about $2/faucet)
Innovative Options – The list so far are items that will not really change the way in which you use these features in your home. Other options are available, however, to be effective, you must change habits and behaviors. The following is a short list of optional features:
- Recirculating Pump – delivers hot water immediately eliminating the need to run water for it warm up.
- Composting Toilets – Waterless toilet system that converts human waste into usable compost/soil.
- Low-water Irrigation Systems – System that use rain collection systems, non-spray (drip) systems, or special timers and moisture sensors.
- Specialty Faucets – Motion sensors, shut-off valve or pedal-activated faucets.
In summary, if you implement only the first three items, you average monthly savings for a family of four will be about 1500 gallons of water. Remember this is without changing any behaviors or standards of living.
Next week is the International Builder Show in Las Vegas, NV. During the show, many products will be demonstrated to show the newest technologies to save water and reduce usage. Stay tuned for future product reviews and options to save water.