“Going green” is not a new term for most of us, however, it might be as it applies to the plumbing in your home. Green plumbing is plumbing that is designed to be the most energy efficient and at the same time conserve the most water. A great by-product of saving on water and energy is that you will also be saving on your monthly utility bills. Green plumbing involves anything from changing traditional fixtures and faucets, to water saving fixtures, to installing energy saving water heaters. Some basic green plumbing products include toilets, sinks and showerheads, water heaters, hot water re-circulating, and high-efficiency appliances.
Toilets and water fixtures for sinks and showers on the market today offer a great way to reduce your water usage. Low flow, dual flush toilets are a significant water saver. The dual flush mechanism allows you to choose the amount of water required for waste. For your sinks, low flow aerators are efficient devices that save water without compromising on your pressure. They can be directly fitted onto the faucet head and control the water flow. Low-flow showerheads are also based on control flow technology to manage the water flow and save considerably on water consumption.
Water heaters are a very important part of green plumbing. High efficiency water heaters conserve water along with energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hot water heating can account for as much as 14-25 percent of your total home energy use. Replacing an older unit with a new, high-efficiency one can have a big impact when it comes to reducing your home heating costs.
Tankless or instant water heaters are another way to reduce not only water usage but also to gain energy savings. Tankless water heaters obtain hot water without first storing water in a tank. They heat the water instantly, providing it as needed, so you will only pay for heating water that you actually use. Because you do not store water in a tank you will eliminate standby heat losses associated with a traditional tank water heater.
A hot water circulation pump is another green plumbing method. Every year thousands of gallons of wasted water go down the drain, costing homeowners thousands of dollars. A significant amount of this waste occurs when homeowners wait for their water to reach a comfortable temperature before they shower or wash their hands. A circulation pump eliminates this wait and unnecessary waste of water by providing instant hot water.
A last step to take to be more “green” with your plumbing is to replace older appliances with new energy efficient appliances. High-efficiency washing machines and dishwashers will save you on energy usage as well as water. Newer appliances use less water and energy. You can check with www.energystar.gov for products that are energy efficient in both of these categories.
Green plumbing is a way to reduce your water and energy usage. As you begin to replace fixtures or appliances in your home you should seriously consider replacing them with “green” plumbing products. Most people do not have the money to make all of these changes at once, but as you implement them over time, you will be able to decrease your carbon footprint and conserve our natural resources with the added benefit of lower utility bills!