How can you become more sustainable in your everyday life? Click on any section to find out how you can be more sustainable in that category.
Global freshwater usage for agriculture and other industries has increased by six fold and the renewable freshwater resources have declined over time. This section of the sustainability calculator encourages you to look at your personal water usage habits regarding washing clothing, showers, and other areas of your home that use water.
1. Fix leaks
According to the EPA, 10% of homes have leaks that can waste 90 gallons or more every day. These leaks are not just in faucets; they can also come from worn toilet flappers, showerheads, outdoors, and other valves throughout a building. For example, check for leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank to see if any coloring shows up in the bowl after ten minutes, or simply check your water meter before and after two hours when no water is used. Furthermore, make sure to regularly check places in your home’s water system that can be prone to leaks before and after colder months.
2. Wash dishes in a sustainable way
For sustainable ways to wash dishes, install an aerator on your faucet head, scrape food off of plates, and/or use an efficient system of filling two small basins with water - one with hot, soapy water for soaking, scraping and scrubbing, and the other with warm water for rinsing. This will reduce time spent allowing the faucet to run to rinse every individual dish. There are also environmentally friendly dish soaps to further reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Reduce your water usage for personal hygiene
If there is one thing no one wants to skimp on, it’s personal hygiene. However, there are ways to stay squeaky clean and still save the environment. Take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, lathering your hands/face, or shaving to further save hundreds of gallons of water per month. Try to collect water that may be wasted while waiting for the shower water to warm up to further be recycled for cooking, watering plants, dishes, etc.
4. Conserve water usage in your yard and/or garden
Some ways to conserve your water usage in the landscape can include utilizing an adjustable sprinkler, choosing water-saving containers, installing a water timer, and/or installing a greywater system. Specifically, by utilizing an adjustable sprinkler system, you can direct the water to where it is necessary and limit the amount of runoff. Similarly, by choosing water-saving containers, rain gardens, or water timers, you can limit the amount of frequent watering and save more money from your water bill. Finally, if feasible, installing a greywater system would be an effective way to recycle wastewater throughout your whole house.
5. Use water efficient products
Water-efficient appliances can lead to not only reducing carbon emissions but also saving your own money in the long run as water-efficient homes are at least 20% more effective than standard models. Some examples of water-efficient appliances are Energy Star certified products such as dishwashers, clothes dryers/washers, pool pumps, etc and WaterSense labeled products such as showerheads, flushometer valve toilets, irrigation controls, etc.
6. Rethink your Backyard Pool
Everyone likes time by the pool but maintaining a backyard pool, whether inground or above ground, significantly increases household water use. Additionally, water evaporates from pools in the hot summer sun and so water must continually be added throughout the summer. To reduce how much water you are using to maintain your pool, consider shortening your swimming season by a few weeks at the beginning and ends of the summer. If you are considering adding a pool to your property, investigate public pool or local beach options instead. This will save you both money and precious water.