Looking for ways to save water, energy, money and waste less?
Take a peek at the Change Your Life Challenge 2020 (CYCL 2020) based here in the Nebraska Panhandle.
It’s a year long facebook-based community group exploring a different theme each month with weekly challenges to help transform living habits to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly, energy efficient, or a combination thereof. Several local businesses and entities have partnered in an effort to connect residents with helpful resources and information to become more efficient stewards of resources.
Use the cold weather to try some indoor water management.
1. Check for leaks and fix right away. A 1/32 inch hole can leak 6,000 gallons of water per month.
2. Install faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads to use less water without compromising flow in the bath and sinks.
3. Place a jug of water or brick in the toilet tank to displace water and use less per flush or replace the toilet with a Water Sense high-efficiency model that uses 1.28 gallons per flush or less.
4. Wash full loads, many washing machines don’t adjust for load size and run 40 or more gallons of water per cycle. Make best use of the water by washing only full loads or remember to set your machine for a lesser load, if it can be adjusted.
5. Insulate your water heater and water pipes. Check the water heater tank for an R-value of at least 24. If its not, insulating your water tank could reduce standby heat loss by 25%–45%.
Save water and save the energy required to pump, process, heat, transport, and treat it. Friday, January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day designed to help reduce the impact of energy expenditures, both financially and environmentally.
– Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the energy required to heat water.
– Turn the ice maker in your freezer off to reduce freezer energy usage by about 20%.
– Check and fix leaks in toilets, faucets, and other appliances that use water.
– Upgrade to Water Sense and Energy Star appliances that use water and energy more efficiently.
The average US person’s water footprint for power production in the US averages to 39 gallons per person per day on according to WaterFootprint.org. And nearly 25% of all residential power consumed stems from idle appliances and devices.
Save water and energy:
– Unplug phone chargers, laptop charges, and game consoles when not in use.
– Shut down computers at the end of the day
– Flip off power strips when done with the devices
– Use power strips or smart strips to cluster multiple devices onto one switch. (e.g., computer, printer, and router or TV and video game console)
– Unplug the coffee maker, washer, dryer, or microwave if not using. Digital displays require a constant draw of power.
Urban snowmelt runoff carries diverse pollutants, like gas combustion products, snowmelting agents, and automotive exhaust, which threaten the quality of the receiving waters, like the North Platte River.
Pollutants can affect water quality faster two ways in winter. First, snow collects contaminants and releases them in concentrated form during melts. Second, the partially frozen state of rivers lessen the ability for self-purification.
Keeping walks and driveways clear, using snowmelt “sparingly and caringly”, and driving only when necessary are good winter water quality measures.
As much as 75 percent of water supplies in some western states are derived from snowmelt, according to the United States Geological Service (USGS). The Nebraska Panhandle relies heavily on snowmelt for our water supply – so taking care of our snow means taking care of our water.