Originally published in Interiors & Sources

07/25/2013

Water Conservation 101

Try these simple strategies to reduce water use before tackling more costly upgrades.

 

Restrooms

  • A 1.28 gpf toilet uses 20% less than the standard 1.6 gpf.
  • A low-flow faucet aerator that runs at 1.5 gpm can reduce water by 30% over traditional fixtures.
  • Depending on their age, urinals can use 1-5 gallons per flush. Replace a 1.5 gpf urinal with a 0.5 gpf model and save over 4,600 gallons a year, according to WaterSense (a product label program by the EPA and similar to ENERGY STAR).
  • For hotels and dormitories, use 2.0 gpm showerheads over the standard 2.5 models – users won’t notice the difference, but you will on your utility bill.

Landscaping

  • Reduce your turf grass area, which is a large consumer of irrigation. Drought-tolerant plants and native vegetation are a good replacement because they require less water.
  • Drip irrigation is 20-50% more water efficient than sprinklers.
  • Maintain good soil quality, which retains moisture better.
  • Group together water-intensive plants (hydrozoning).
  • Add shut-off nozzles to spray heads to target leaks.
  • Ensure water isn’t wasted on pavement areas.
  • Avoid irrigation excess by using sensors and controls to manage your watering schedule and levels.
  • Use permeable pavement, which allows stormwater to drain on your site and be filtered naturally instead of rushed toward storm sewers.

Pools and Spas

  • Backwash filters only when necessary.
  • Implement leak monitoring.
  • Use a pool cover, which cuts down on evaporation loss.
  • Evaluate the frequency of full pool drains.





Kitchens

  • Choose a pre-rinse spray valve that uses 1.3 gpm or less.
  • Replace old dish washers (both residential scale for small businesses and commercial grade for dining facilities) with new models that consume less water and energy.
  • If possible, eliminate garbage disposals. Better yet, install a food pulper, which uses significantly less water to turn food scraps otherwise flushed down the drain into a valuable composting resource.


 

 
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