Energy efficient low flow Faucets and Shower Heads
Energy efficiency in the home, particularly in regards to water consumption, is at the forefront of both conserving money on energy bills and conserving water for future use.
It has not always been easy to reduce our water consumption in the home as early water saving faucets and shower heads were not able to replicate what we, the consumer and user, have become accustomed to.
Luckily manufacturers have been working hard to produce models that will both look great in the kitchen and bathroom and promote water conservation.
According to "WaterSense" if every household in America, who spends on average $500 a year on water and sewer bills, converted to energy efficient toilets, showers and faucets, the US would save 3 trillion gallons of water and $18 billion annually. This would amount to $170 per year in savings on energy bills for the average household. So if 1 in a 100 were to switch over, that would save 100 million Kwh of energy and 80000 tonnes of green house gases, equivalent to 15000 cars. Switching over to these water conservation products are well worth the price long term for both families and the environment.
Faucets, shower heads and other plumbing products carrying the "WaterSense" symbol, are certified to reduce water consumption by 30%. Conventional showers using standard water pressure (80 psi) use approximately 5 to 7 gallons of water per minute (GPM) while "WaterSense" certified environmentally friendly faucets, shower heads and aerators use between 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM) and 1.5 gallons per minute, reducing overall water usage.
Energy efficient faucets and shower heads use specially designed aerators that increase overall air flow through the tap and shower head so as the decrease in actual water pressure is neglible. The aerator mixes the water with air to increase the overall spread of less water, usually at the start up, to reduce the perceived lack of pressure and producing an initial stronger flow. These aerators come installed in many new faucets and shower heads that carry the "WaterSense" label but because of the interchange ability of plumbing parts, you can simply install new low flow aerators in your existing taps and shower heads.
Energy Efficient faucets for bathrooms
There are now several options for bathrooms to conserve water and through the use of various new products. It is now possible to have as much pressure as you wish, combined with the water saving you need. The most common types of faucets that are used for the bathroom are:
Metered Valve Faucets- These faucets shut off after a designated amount of water is dispensed from the tap.
Self Closing Faucets-These faucets shut off after a designated time
Infra Red Faucets- This hands free faucet starts and stops dispensing water when it detects or doesn't detect hands or objects.
Low Flow Aerator Faucets- These faucets use specialized air flow regulators to mix water and air to water flow consumption but increase water flow pressure.
If you really want to go green with your faucet you can combine a low flow aerator with a beautiful 72% recycled bronze material faucet that will make your kitchen or bathroom even greener.
Energy Efficient Shower Heads for the Bathroom
Low Flow Shower heads are a great option to reduce water consumption. Most of the water used in the home goes through the shower and replacing the shower head is by the far the easiest way to reduce bills and green house gases. In 1992, The US Energy Policy and Conservation Act implemented legislation stating that water consumption for shower heads cannot exceed 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM), this legislation prompted manufacturers to move quickly on creating water conservation shower head options. Below are the most common types used in the green home:
Atomizer Shower heads uses small amounts of water in abundant bursts to deliver a liquid mist spray. They use approximately 2 GPM.
Pulsating shower heads deliver short, intermittent bursts that can feel relaxing but also conserving water. These use less than 2.5 GPM. Available as well is a water pause feature which reduces the overall flow to trickle for situations where a continual flow is not required.
Aerator Shower Heads- These low flow showerheads work very similarly to faucets in that they incorporate an aerator to reduce water consumption and increase overall pressure
Water Conservation in the Kitchen
Water conservation in the kitchen has lagged behind bathrooms in terms of spear heading strategies to both save water and remain practical. Most uses for water in the kitchen revolve around washing dishes, cleaning, using the dishwasher and filling pots and pans. Because of this, steadier streams of water have been required but there are techniques and technology that are working to stem the over consumption. Manufacturers are now making faucets that one touch on and off faucets that return immediate pressure and temperature to the faucet. This form of memory avoids the needless water consumption of reheating the water to useful levels. Because heating water takes up so much energy, many consumers are switching to tankless instant hot water systems. These systems produce immediate hot water, localized via thermodynamics, upon request. The water is not stored in tanks, temperatures do not need to be gradually increased and energy consumption can be reduced by up to 40%. These localized hot water systems are different than the larger home models and are available at most plumbing and accessories retailers. The simplest way to reduce your consumption in the kitchen is by replacing your aerator in your existing faucet. You will lose some pressure that most kitchen faucets are accustomed to but with preparation comes conservation
The Sexy Green Home Opinion:
With the reduction in water reservoirs in the US, Canada and around the world, the logical decision is to reduce our use. With a plan in place to convert your home to water efficient toilets, low flow shower heads and faucets and considerations to use tankless hot water, you will be well on your way to conserving a precious resource. There are massive legacy costs with over consumption and reducing the burden on our sewer treatment plants, ground water pumping and the overall impact of reservoirs and damming. The ability to change our consumption is cost effective, ecological and necessary.