December is typically the time to shop for others. So, while you’re at it, why not consider a gift of water savings for your home and/or for the environment? Water-efficient devices and appliances give back all year not only in terms of the amount of water saved, but also money saved on your water bill, wastewater bill, and often even your energy bill.
With climate change being discussed by the media daily, these gift ideas are perfect to help reduce your carbon footprint. The EPA’s WaterSense program offers recommendations on these and many other water-saving products.
- Front-loading washers may cost a bit more, but they are more water and energy-efficient. The increased capacity means fewer loads of laundry. Less water is used, so there is less water to heat. And, the higher speed spin cycle removes more water, easing the dryer’s workload, as well. A family of four can save 1,000 gallons a month.
- Dishwashers can also save you both water and energy. If your dishwasher is more than a decade old, newer dishwashers are now using one-third to one-half less water. A dishwasher with the ENERGY STAR certification can save an average of 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
- Showerheads that feature the WaterSense label provide amazing savings. Cut your water use dramatically by replacing a 4 gallon per minute (GPM) head with a model that uses 2.5 GPM or less and save up to 12 gallons or more for each eight-minute shower. Multiply that out for a family of four and you’ll save up to 1,400 gallons of water monthly. And by using less hot water, you’ll also reduce your energy consumption.
- High-efficiency toilets are one of the best ways to save water in your home since they account for as much as 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Replacing an old, inefficient toilet with a WaterSense-labeled option can save a family of four a whopping 13,000 gallons of water each year! Think about pairing it up with new flooring for the bathroom, since that’s the best time to replace a toilet.
- Landscape renovations can turn a thirsty landscape to a low water-using Xeriscape and can cut your outdoor water use in half. Since 50 to 70 percent of household water is commonly used outdoors, the savings can add up to as much as 50,000 gallons a year for an average-sized yard. How is that possible, you ask? A modest-sized yard with 3,000 square feet of grass needs 88,000 gallons of water a year, while 3,000 square feet of desert landscape needs only 37,000 gallons.