Water Conservation Tips for the Home & Office
Sustainability Steve Gombos, Manager, Water Efficiency at Region of Waterloo, shares his tips for everyday ways you can reduce your consumption of water.
Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, it’s important to remember that water conservation also means energy conservation.
Beyond the obvious things, like using 4.8-litre toilets, low-flow showerheads, and buying efficient front-loading washing machines, water consumption all through the system can be reduced to save energy.
The treatment and distribution of drinking water is energy-intensive, and a hidden contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re buying plumbing fixtures, look for WaterSense-labelled products, which are proven to be 20 percent more water efficient without sacrificing performance. Metrics like gallons per minute (GPM) are important to note as well, and one should look to use fixtures in the 1–2 GPM range. Seek EnerGuide and Energy Star-labelled products to further maximize water and energy savings.
If you have a water meter, look closely at water bills. If your consumption suddenly or gradually goes up, you probably have a leak. Leaks can be costly, especially if you’re not aware of them. A common culprit in both businesses and homes is leaking toilet flappers. An unnoticed toilet leak can cost as much as $40 per day in wasted water. A simple way to check for leaking toilets is to put a few drops of food colouring in the tank and to wait and see if it leaks down into the bowl. To find out how much water you’re losing to leaks, take meter readings (measured in cubic meters [m3], which is 1,000 litres) before and after bed, when there should be no consumption.
Beyond fixing leaks and using efficient appliances and fixtures, the best way to conserve water is to cut back on irrigation and other waste. A lawn only needs water once per month to survive, despite turning brown during dry spells. And if you take shorter showers, you will save lots of water and energy at the same time.