Nowadays people are becoming increasingly aware of the need to live in a more environmentally friendly way. Your home is a great place to start the transformation! Some ways that you can save energy in the home are to replace old faucets, improve your lighting with CFL light bulbs, install solar panels and switch to low-flow toilets and shower heads. This blog post will outline some simple ways to improve your carbon foot print! You can also read our blogs on energy efficient home improvements in your kitchen here.
Low flow everything!
Low flow plumbing fixtures come in many different forms. These fixtures help to conserve water without compromising the performance like you might expect. The three most common low flow home improvements are shower heads, toilets, and faucets. They can even be found in regular low-flow or ultra low-flow!
Showering accounts for up to 20% of the average household’s indoor water use. You can cut your shower water use by as much as 70% by switching to an ultra low-flow shower head, which is easy to do. If you notice that your shower head is lacking pressure and perhaps you’ve tried to revive it, but nothing seems to do the trick, be sure to look into one of these fixtures as a replacement. While having a nice shower is a great addition to a bathroom, in reality fixtures like rain-head style shower heads can use up to 20 gallons per minute (gpm) of water! Compared to this, an ultra low-flow shower head can use up to 2 gpm without lacking the pressure you’re looking for!
Tip: Another way to save in the shower is to reduce your shower time. Make a shower playlist that is 5-10 minutes long (or shorter!) and end your shower when the playlist finishes. Make it fun!
Toilets are the most common of the three low-flow products. Low flow toilets have been around for a long time, but have gained in popularity as more people renovate their bathrooms and build new homes. These toilets work quite simply.
If you have a toilet(s) that uses more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf)—as almost all toilets installed before 1994 do —replace it with one of the following:
– High-efficiency (or ultra-low-flush) toilet model that uses no more than 1.28 gpf
– Dual-flush toilet, which has a lower-flush button for liquid waste and a higher-flush button for solid waste
-Composting toilet, which uses little to no water for flushing
If you have a 1.6 gpf (post-1994) toilet, you can make it more water-efficient by putting a small water bottle (filled with water, with the cap on) into the toilet tank for water displacement. It’s not a good idea to put a brick in the tank like you may have heard before, as it will erode and the sediment can clog up the toilet tank. It could also potentially damage the porcelain if happened to shake or rattle inside the tank.
Low-flow faucets can be used in your kitchen, bar, bathroom, and laundry room. If you have inefficient faucets which use more than 2.5 gpm, consider replacing them with high-efficiency faucets that have a flow rate of no more than 1.5 gpm, or add a water-saving aerator or flow restrictor to your existing faucets as an easy and inexpensive modification!
Brands that manufacture higher efficiency fixtures include:
One of our personal choices is the Kohler Karing toilet.
A major consideration when upgrading your home’s energy efficiency is the price tag. Manufacturers recognize that more and more people are becoming energy conscious, and the range of products is very diverse in terms of quality, features, and price!
Solar water heating:
Solar water heating is not a new technique, but it is becoming more popular, especially in West Vancouver. As of June 2011, all new homes being constructed must be built in preparation for the future use of solar energy to heat their water. If you’re wondering why West Vancouver has implemented this specifically, it is because the North Shore receives a great amount of sunlight, and harnessing the sun’s energy for power is a great way to make this renewable resource work for your home. For more information visit www.solarbc.ca.
If you want to do any of these projects, but can’t take it on yourself, be sure to call us and we will be more than happy to assist you in your step towards a greener home!
Mention this blog for 10% off the installation of any new low-flow fixture!