According to Forbes, 77 percent of Americans want to learn how to live more sustainably. But did you know that making green changes to your household plumbing system can help too?
Green plumbing offers valuable ways to reduce consumption, promote conservation and cut costs all at the same time. But what is green plumbing, and how can it benefit you and your household?
What Is Green Plumbing?
Green plumbing, sometimes called ecological plumbing, helps your home conserve water and energy using a variety of efficient fixtures and plumbing methods.
Traditional bathroom fixtures are notoriously inefficient. For example, a standard-issue toilet often uses several gallons of water for one flush, and a standard water heater uses a tremendous amount of energy by always keeping hot water ready to go, even when no one in the household will need it for hours. Green plumbing helps resolve this waste of water and energy to help make homes more efficient and environmentally friendly.
What Are the Advantages of Green Plumbing?
Green Plumbing provides several advantages over traditional plumbing, including:
- Reduced waste: Green plumbing helps households conserve both water and energy. Fixtures like low-flow toilets and showerheads reduce the amount of water required for showering and toilet flushes. Fixtures like tankless water heaters help conserve energy as well. Because it wastes so little water and electricity, green plumbing can be an integral part of household conservation strategies.
- Decreased environmental impact: Green plumbing allows households to minimize their disruption of the environment. Using less energy helps curb pollution, fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions, in turn, helps reduce the rate of climate change and avert a potential global catastrophe.
- Reduced water shortages: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 80 percent of state water managers expect to have water shortages in their states at some point in the next decade. American households use a lot of water — on average, an American uses 88 gallons of water a day. Using less water helps conserve natural water sources and wetlands and helps ensure that communities have enough water for their daily needs.
- Extended appliance usage: Green plumbing reduces water consumption, and reduced water flow helps keep appliances from overworking and wearing out. Investing in green plumbing helps give your appliances a longer lifespan.
How Can Green Plumbing Save Me Money?
Green plumbing can help you save money in a variety of different ways — for example, by:
- Decreasing water bills: By using less water than traditional plumbing, green plumbing enables you to save money on your monthly water bills. Even if your water usage doesn’t seem like much, the gallons of water that go into each shower, flush, dishwater load, load of laundry and other general household water needs quickly add up. The average American household spends more than $1,000 a year in water costs. Green plumbing additions, like efficient fixtures, can help reduce this figure by an average of $380 annually.
- Decreasing energy bills: By using less energy than traditional plumbing, green plumbing helps you save on your monthly energy bills, as well. Tankless water heaters, for instance, reduce energy usage by heating water only when it is needed, so your water heater is not continuously guzzling energy. Adding insulation to your water pipes helps conserve energy, too. This more efficient energy usage helps lower your home’s utility bills.
- Reducing leaks: Making your plumbing greener doesn’t always have to involve installing newfangled bathroom fixtures — sometimes, it merely means upgrading your plumbing to make it more efficient by reducing leaks. A leaky sink or shower may seem like a small matter, but even a tiny, constant leak can end up wasting significant amounts of water. For a typical household, plumbing leaks can waste 180 gallons of water per week — for that same amount of water, you could do 300 loads of laundry. Greening your plumbing by reducing leaks helps make your plumbing more efficient and cost-effective.
- Reducing repairs and replacements: Plumbing repair costs quickly add up, but green plumbing can reduce the amount of repair work and maintenance your plumbing needs. The reduced flow of water you will see with green plumbing helps reduce the wear and tear on your pipes and fixtures and helps them last longer before needing repairs or replacement.
- Allowing for tax breaks: In many states, adding green plumbing fixtures to your home qualifies you for a tax credit to offset the cost. Contact your local authorities to see what green plumbing installations qualify for a tax credit in your state.
Green Plumbing Fixtures and What They Do
Several different types of green, water-saving fixtures are available, including the following:
1. Low-Flow Toilets
Toilets are the main culprits in water consumption in the home, accounting for almost 30 percent of a household’s water usage. Older, more inefficient toilets can use up to six gallons of water with every flush. A low-flow toilet reduces the amount of water each flush uses. Some use only 1.28 gallons per flush while providing the same level of performance. The average family can save 13,000 gallons of water and $130 in water costs per year by replacing outdated toilets with efficient, green models.
2. Low-Flow Showerheads
Low-flow showerheads reduce the volume of water that a shower uses. According to the EPA, showering accounts for 17 percent of all residential water use, and an average shower with a standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water every minute. For many families, that adds up to almost 40 gallons of water a day, and it also adds up to nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States every year — just for showering.
Low-flow showerheads reduce those numbers by 20 percent, using only two gallons of water per minute. Replacing outdated showerheads with efficient showerheads can save $70 in water and electricity costs for the average household and help conserve more than 2,700 gallons of water per year.
3. Efficiency Faucets
Efficiency faucets reduce the amount of water you use at the bathroom sink. A standard bathroom faucet puts out water at a rate of about 2.2 gallons per minute, but many efficiency faucets put out no more than 1.5 gallons per minute, helping to reduce home water consumption by 30 percent or more. The average American family can save $250 in water and electricity costs over the faucets’ lifetime by replacing older faucets with efficiency faucets.
4. Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters, also called demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, help reduce both water and energy use. A standard water heater keeps hot water in the tank at all times, even if no one is using that hot water. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, heats water only when someone turns on the hot water tap.
Most tankless water heaters can have the hot water ready in seconds, so there’s no need to stand around waiting for the water to get warm. Depending on household water usage, a tankless water heater can help a home reduce water and energy use by 24 to 34 percent. They are convenient and help keep a household supplied with constant hot water. They also last longer than standard water heaters — up to 20 years or more. Whereas a conventional water heater has a lifespan of only 10 to 15 years. So they help households save money by replacing their water heaters less often.
Why Should I Go Green With My Plumbing?
Going green with your plumbing is a great idea for a few different reasons:
- Conservation: Green plumbing helps conserve water and decrease waste of this essential resource. It helps conserve energy, so it reduces the amount of greenhouse gas sent into the atmosphere to contribute to the warming of the planet.
- Cost savings on bills: Green plumbing helps households save much-needed money on their water and utility bills. A bathroom makeover consisting of installing a low-flow toilet, low-flow showerhead and efficiency faucet can pay for itself with increased savings in as little as a year.
- Increased plumbing fixture lifespan: Green plumbing features also often have longer lifespans, reducing the need for repairs and replacements and helping lower costs even more.
Contact Home Climates for Your Green Plumbing Needs
To start seeing the benefits of sustainable plumbing fixtures in your home, work with Home Climates. From bathroom fixture installation to tankless water heaters, we have the green plumbing products and services you need to start making a difference in your home. Our friendly, knowledgeable, 24/7 service department is always ready to answer questions or assist with heating and plumbing needs.
Contact us to install green home plumbing in Harrisburg, Elizabethtown, Lancaster and Camp Hill homes today!