Faucets use more than 15 percent of household water. WaterSense faucets save the average household more than 500 gallons a year. If every U.S. home installed a WaterSense faucet or aerator (aerators cost around $2), we could avoid about $600 million in energy costs.
The average shower uses about 11 gallons of water. You could save more than 2,300 gallons each year by installing WaterSense showerheads, which use less than 2.5 gallons per minute. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for product listings.
Toilets are your home’s main source of water use, accounting for nearly 30 percent of residential consumption, according to WaterSense. Low-flow toilets can save nearly 4,000 gallons a year over older, less-efficient models.
Energy Star dishwashers save water and energy, using about 40 percent less energy than the federal efficiency standard and 5.8 gallons of water or less per cycle. Dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 additional gallons per cycle, according to Energy Star.
Energy Star clothes washers use no more than 6 gallons of water per cycle; federal efficiency standards are 9.5 gallons or less. For maximum efficiency, look for models with a moisture sensor labeled with a high modified energy factor (MEF) and a low water factor (WF).
When you use food scraps to make compost, you save all the water and energy it would have taken to wash them down the drain—and you get a crucial building block for your garden’s healthy soil. Buy a composter or make your own. Read more on page 30.
Adapted to your local climate, native plants require less artificial irrigation than standard grass yards and no fertilizer. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers searchable directories of native plants and suppliers at www.wildflower.org.
Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems release water slowly and directly to plant roots, reducing evaporation and runoff. Soaker hoses can cut water use in half,
according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Weather-Based Irrigation Controller
Americans use more than 7 billion gallons of water a day on residential landscaping, according to the EPA. Using local weather and landscape conditions, weather-based irrigation controllers tailor watering schedules to yard needs.
One of the easiest ways to reduce water use, rain barrels store rainwater for landscape irrigation. A rain barrel can be as simple as a barrel attached to downspouts or be part of a more elaborate system. You can make your own: www.naturalhomemagazine.com/rain-barrel.