Water & Energy Saving Tips

Most households use the vast majority of their water indoors. This increases energy usage. Many areas now enact water-usage restrictions during specific seasons or drier months, as well as during emergencies. Earth is composed of 75% water, but only 3% of it is potable (can be safely consumed by humans). As water shortages increase worldwide, it is important that we all use water as efficiently as possible. Consider using the following energy saving ideas every day.

  • Learn to listen for signs of leakage (for instance, a toilet that sounds like it is running all the time, is most likely leaking), and always fix leaky faucets and other fixtures as soon as you become aware of the problem.
  • Use water-efficient fixtures throughout your home.
  • Routinely check any water-using devices to ensure they are working properly and efficiently.
  • Take showers instead of baths and save up to 40 gallons of water per shower.
  • Take shorter showers when you can – the water you save this way will add up tremendously in the long-run.
  • Drop all bathroom waste in the trash instead of flushing it – this will save gallons.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Make sure all your faucets have aerators.
  • Cooking food in as little water as possible not only saves water, but keeps most of the nutrients in the food.
  • Consider buying mugs you keep in the freezer rather than using ice to cool soft drinks, lemonade, or other beverages. This will save water and keep your drinks flavor intact.
  • Use insulated coolers rather than ice buckets to keep bottles and food cool while traveling.
  • Don’t run your washing machine when you don’t have a full load to wash.
  • Don’t pre-rinse dishes unless it’s necessary – most newer dishwashers will thoroughly clean your dishes without needing pre-rinsing under normal circumstances.
  • Use “gray” water from activities like washing dishes (unless you use harsh detergents) and showering to water plants.
  • Fill clean bottles or containers with water and refrigerate them rather than letting the faucet run until the water is cool enough to drink.
  • Thaw food out in advance or use the microwave if needed on short-notice – don’t thaw out food by running water over it!
  • If you notice a leaking fixture at work, a hotel, or a restaurant, inform someone so they can have it fixed.
  • Wash your car by hand with a bucket or at a carwash that uses recycled water.
  • When buying plants, consult with your suppliers. Native plants grow more easily and require less water and maintenance.
  • Water your lawn during the early morning hours only – this is when less evaporation occurs.
  • Talk with your co-workers and family about water saving tips – education is the first step!

In the United States, residential energy use comes in at 22% of total usage. Major uses at home come from temperature-related operations: heating and cooling food, water and the home. The remainder goes towards lighting and electric appliances. While energy uses are obviously important to modern life, we must all make a conscious effort to use energy wisely and conserve it wherever and whenever possible. Keep the following tips in mind to make your everyday practices more energy-friendly.

  • Be aware of drafts and fix them when they occur – much of the energy used in homes is actually lost through drafty windows and doors.
  • Some appliances use energy 24 hours a day even if they are turned off and not in use. Whenever possible, unplug appliances you are not actively using.
  • Many utilities provide free or low-cost energy audits to determine which area(s) of the home is wasting energy. Request an audit and learn which problems need to be corrected, then take the steps necessary to do so.
  • Adding storm windows to existing windows provides an excellent barrier that prevents air escape.
  • Consult a landscaper about the most energy-efficient way to place trees and plants in your yard – their placement can make a difference in how much heating and cooling energy you will use.
  • Turn the lights off when you leave the room, even if you are coming back in a few minutes. This does add up in the long run.
  • Don’t keep the refrigerator door open while pouring a beverage or separating an individual piece of food from a package – this not only wastes energy, but causes food to spoil more quickly.
  • Try to carpool, bike, or walk whenever possible.
  • Make a habit of recycling whatever materials you can. Find out where recycling plants are in your area and what their processes are.
  • Don’t leave house and garage doors open – this only makes air conditioning or heating escape the house while letting in hot or cold air.
  • Dispose of batteries and cell phones in appropriate containers – this will help recycle materials as well as keep harmful sources out of our environment.

In addition to conserving water and energy, there are a variety of other simple ways to help the environment. Below are some suggestions of things you can do.

  • Try to recycle or reuse materials whenever you can.
  • Aside from using recycling services, consider reusing plastic shopping bags, or bringing your own canvas bags when you go shopping.
  • Bike, walk, or carpool whenever possible.
  • Use energy- and water-efficient appliances and products, such as WaterSense and EnergyStar labeled products whenever you can.
  • Donate your gently used toys and coats to a charity – other people can get use out of these things and it will keep them out of landfills.
  • Select locally grown produce whenever possible – locally grown foods travel less distance, using less fuel for transport, arriving fresher at your grocery store, and supporting your local economy.
  • Identify how you’re wasting energy and water, and take steps to correct this.
  • Find out how you can properly dispose of hazardous waste rather than letting it out into your community.
  • Plant a tree – they provide shade and are essential components of clean air.
  • Educate those around you about keeping our environment clean and using our resources efficiently – knowledge is the first step to action!