Upgrade or retrofit your showerheads and faucet aerators

Definition: Install showerheads limiting waterflow to a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute. Install kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators that limit flow to 2.2 gallons per minute.

Application: Installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators is good for a number of reasons. Lowering the volume of water passing through such fixtures lowers the volume of water that must be heated to replace it. Heating less water requires less energy.

Similarly, using less water limits the energy and pollution associated with filtering and transporting it to your home.

Finally, using less water creates less sewage, lowering the energy and expense of treating it and taking it away. The savings in energy use, water usage, and sewage volume all result in a significant cost savings.

Benefits: It is a low-cost method of conserving energy used to heat water for domestic use in the home. Homeowner will realize savings immediately on both energy costs and water usage. Sewer costs based on water use will be reduced as well. More hot water will be available thereby extending peak use time.

Challenges: Lifestyle changes are sometimes required when changing from a high-flow to a low-flow showerhead. The plumbing system must be in good condition to survive the retrofit. Old showerheads and aerators must be destroyed/recycled to keep from finding their way back into use at a later time. (Flowrates are stamped on showerheads and faucet aerators.)

Information provided by Earth Advantage, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization that specializes in green building. Info: www.earthadvantage.com

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