We have been discussing green buildings in our building science course with an emphasis on topics such as heating and solar ventilation. We have explored advances in insulation of homes and green HVAC systems. One more facility that I have learned can be modified to be more green is the plumbing system. Reducing bills and adverse effects on the atmosphere, targeting the plumbing system would benefit us greatly. In a course on plumbing that I am taking, I learned a number of important facts and figures on how we can go green more effectively by going green in plumbing department. Below are a few areas in which residential energy use related to water and plumbing is proving costly and a few ways that can be implicated to conserve the energy being used.
Heating water for use by residents of a home accounts for approximately 30% of residential energy use. Moreover, wasted water adds up to thousands of gallons per year which wastes a lot of energy involved in water handling. If we can reduce the heat loss from hot water and conserve water, we can see a drastic reduction in bills and can contribute more effectively to going green.
Some of the things we can do to reduce the use and heating of water are as follows:
- Low-Flow fixtures: Installing this type of over-head shower fixture can reduce the water usage in the residence by up to a staggering 60 percent by reducing the flow of water. Less water being used means less water being heated and this would prove beneficial financially as well as environmentally.
- Faucet Flow Reducers: Similar to the concept of low-flow shower fixtures, installation of such faucet fixtures is easy considering that they can fit on the end of your current faucet fixture where the aerator is screwed on and will reduce water flow by up to a handsome 40 percent.
- Low-Flush Toilets: About 28 gallons of water per person per day are used by the flushing of toilets. Flushing the toilet is the single most water consuming use in a home.
Installing these types of toilets reduce the amount of water used per flush by anywhere from two to five times less than the standard toilet.
- Home Leak Monitoring Device: This involves installing a device that will alert you when it senses a leak so that you can find and fix the issue sooner than you would without being alerted. Leaking faucets, toilets and pipes account for thousands of gallons of water being wasted monthly so such a device certainly would play a role in energy conservation.
- Energy-Efficient Appliances: You can reduce the amount of water consumption in a residence by as much as half by installing energy-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers.
Making your home green does not just mean making it healthier for the environment but also healthier for the inhabitants of the home. A couple examples of steps to make your home healthier are as follows:
- Installation of Chlorine Filters on Shower heads: Chlorine is readily absorbed through the skin six times faster than through the digestive system and so chlorine sensitivity can be a major issue for many. Installation of a filter would reduce chlorine levels effectively.
- Installation of Activated Carbon Filters: These filters are installed on faucets and showerheads and absorb pollutants. If you are concerned with poor water quality this option would prove beneficial as a purification strategy.
Some of the measures we can take to reduce home energy use regarding plumbing are as follows:
- Remove/Avoid Plumbing from Exterior Walls: Doing this and running the pipes through conditioned spaces instead will reduce the amount of heat loss from being in close proximity to the outside atmosphere and temperature.
- Insulate Pipes: If the above mentioned strategy is not a possibility then insulation of the pipes will allow less heat loss and will definitely make a beneficial impact in your utility bill.