In my last post, I talked about how I keep track of our electricity usage, to be sure that our efforts at efficiency & conservation are staying on track. But that’s just one of 3 utilities; water has been another focus in our house. Although we live right next to the Mississippi, and it’s unlikely to go dry anytime soon (I hope!) there’s still decent reason to conserve; if nothing else, it takes a fair bit of energy to treat that water before it gets to the house, and the sewage after it leaves. (According to Energy Star, we spend $4 billion and use 50 billion kWh annually to treat water.) And then there’s the gas for the hot water…
Anyway, water really wasn’t that hard to reduce. We did these things:
(note, some Amazon affiliate links follow; these are the items I used)
- Got a high efficiency (HE) clothes washer
- Put low-flow (1.5 gpm) aerators on several faucets
- Put dual flush adapters in both toilets [amzn]
- Got low-flow showerheads for the upstairs and the basement showers [amzn]
- Use a rain barrel, and don’t water the lawn too much
None of this is too tough, or especially impactful on our lives. The showers are quite fine; they aren’t human car washes, but c’est la vie. And the grass isn’t always a lush green, but that’s just natural consequences in a drought, right? The dual flush adapters work surprisingly well, and the clothes washer is a great machine. The dishwasher is about all that’s left; we have to use a roll-around one so our choices are limited.
Anyway, it’s paid off pretty well; here are my gallons per day over time (measured quarterly via our utility bill) with a yearly rolling average:
It still amazes me that we use 100 gallons per day; that does seem like a lot, although maybe not so bad for 4 people. But as the kids grow up and start to want long and/or daily showers, we’ll see how things go!
Part 3 will cover my gas usage, and there’s an admission to make there … ;)