Along with household energy use, setting out to achieve a smaller water footprint – the sum of one’s direct or indirect freshwater use – is generally a top priority of conservation-minded homeowners.
Fortunately, investing in water-saving household products and adopting water-saving practices and habits has never been easier.
An important place to start is with the lawn and garden as approximately 30 percent of the water used in a single-family home is consumed by landscaping activities, a figure that’s much higher in arid climates. Many municipalities offer lawn water requirement calculators to help homeowners determine the exact water requirements of their lawns. One way to save thousands of irrigation-related gallons of water per month is to consider landscaping with drought-resistant and native plants. And no water-wise garden is without a rain barrel or other rainwater-collecting device.
Inside, water conservation is primarily guided by small actions such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth (this can save 25 gallons per month) or only running the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads. When tackling more involved home improvements, homeowners have multiple opportunities to conserve water: installing faucet aerators, investing in low-flow fixtures and upgrading to dual-flush toilets are just a few basics.
Similar to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program certifies water-conserving products including showerheads, toilets, bathroom sink faucets and landscape irrigation controls. These products have been stringently tested and are found to be at least 20 percent more efficient in water utilization than their counterparts. Since its inception in 2006, WaterSense labeled products have helped to save 487 billion gallons of water while stamping out 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
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Photo credit: Steven Depolo (via Flickr.com)