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%.
Saving water saves energy. Simply running a faucet for five minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb staying on for 14 hours, according to the EPA.
How can you save both water and energy?
1. Use less water or use it efficiently – shorter showers, full loads of dishes, turn the tap off while brushing teeth or washing dishes, use a hot water kettle or microwave to heat only the water you need.
2. Find and fix leaks in toilets, sinks, sprinkler systems and appliances.
3. Use cold water instead of hot when possible – laundry, washing fruits and vegetables (use the rinsewater for house plants), rinsing cleaning products
4. Install low-flow fixtures and faucet aerators in showers and sinks.
5. Replace worn out and older inefficient appliances with Water Sense and Energy Star labeled products tested and designed to use water and energy more efficiently – toilets, washing machines, and water heaters are big ones.
Dishwashers use half the energy, one-sixth of the water and less soap than hand-washing according to research at the University of Bonn, Germany. Dishwashers beat the hand washers in both efficient water use and cleanliness level.
Need a dishwasher? Consider these tips to get the most efficient and effective:
1. Choose an ENERGY STAR dishwasher
2. Scrape food into the compost. Don’t iwaste water rinsing.
3. Choose an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent.
4. Run full loads, on the “light” cycle and turn off the “heated drying” option.
A drip a second from a leaky faucet sends five gallons of water down the drain in a day. An hour could be measured as 3,364 drips or about 3 3/4 cups of water.
According to the US Geological Survey, a typical drip is between 1/5 and 1/3 of one milliliter. Using 1/4 of a milliliter as an average, the USGS estimates that roughly 15,140 drips from a faucet equals one gallon of water.
In the end, it’s probably easier (and cheaper) to just set the clock ahead for Daylight Savings Time this Sunday.
“If all U.S. households installed water-saving features, water use would decrease by 30 percent, saving an estimated 5.4 billion gallons per day. This would result in dollar-volume savings of $11.3 million per day or more than $4 billion per year.” – USGS 2015 Water Census