Green Tour: Bathroom (Part 2: Water Conservation)

Bathroom rendering

For my 100th post, I’m back on the green tour! We recently took a vacation with my mom’s extended family. While we were there, my environmentally minded uncle worked on converting the outline I made for my “green tour” to a keynote presentation. Other family members joined in too.

One question that was asked is “Why would you want to save water?” This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while. Let’s face it, water service is cheap (or often free to renters). You probably turn the water on dozens of times a day without thinking about it, and why should you?

Well, for me, conserving the water I use is about being less wasteful of resources, regardless of direct expense to me. Water that I use goes down the drain, mixes with everyone else’s water and waste and then has to be moved to a treatment facility, processed and sent back out…using resources all along the way.

Recently there was a fire at a water treatment facility here in NYC and raw sewage had to be dump into the river when they couldn’t get everything back online before the facility was at capacity. The surrounding rivers and oceans were too polluted to swim in for several days. I wonder what would have happened if everyone cut back on their water usage until the plant was operational?

So, here are a few ideas of how we use less water in the bathroom:

Sink

  • We installed a low flow attachment to our faucet. It takes a few seconds to screw on. We don’t notice the difference, but we reduced our sink water from 2.2 gpm to 1.5 gpm. Yes that’s GALLONS per minute. We got this sink faucet aerator from Greenfeet.com.

Shower

  • We have a low-flow rain shower head that feels amazing to stand under as well as saving water. (Typical shower heads use 10 gpm. Ten gallons of water multipled by however many minutes your shower… Crazy!)
  • If you like to turn the water on and walk away until it gets hot, get one of these nifty devices. You screw it on the pipe and then screw the shower head on to it. It stops the flow of water to a trickle when it gets hot. When you’re ready to shower, pull the cord to restore the water flow.
  • Shower together. My uncle wasn’t interested in putting this one in his presentation, but it works for us! One person scrubs while the other rinses. We even get the baby in on the action and avoided buying a plastic infant tub.
  • We have the old school controls that let you choose the amount of water and not just the temperature, so we turn the flow way down. When we switch it to the tub spout, the amount of water coming out looks like a trickle compared to how much it could be if we turned it up all the way.

Do you make an effort to conserve water?