How to save energy and money while reducing water use
California’s growing population, coupled with last year’s recent, historic drought, makes water conservation a priority for the state. With future water costs in flux and the threat of drought always a factor, it makes sense for properties to get ahead of the curve and reduce water use. Luckily, there are many devices available to reduce property-wide water use.
Irrigation controllers, which act like a thermostat for your sprinkler system telling it when to turn on and off, use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor schedules to live conditions on site instead of a clock and a preset schedule. Irrigation controllers are a great update to the old, static, pre-set watering systems, and allow daily customizing. Individual savings will vary based on the size of your landscaping area.
Rain barrels provide free sources of non-potable water for irrigating landscaping. This reduces the strain on public water supplies, especially during peak summer months. A typical rain barrel can hold 55 gallons of water—many systems can hold hundreds or even thousands of gallons. A single 55-gallon rain barrel can save properties up to 1,300 gallons of water annually.
Multifamily property lawn areas can range from 4,000 to 20,000 square feet, requiring 220,000 to 1.1 million gallons of water annually. Synthetic turf lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years; using the previous example, the 20,000-square foot lawn area would save 16.5 million gallons over 15 years. Factor in the added bonus of reducing labor hours due to maintaining lawns, and replacing turf can add up to significant savings for properties.
Low-flow Showerheads and Aerators
Every low-flow showerhead installed saves approximately 2,900 gallons of water annually for an average family. Every low-flow faucet aerator installed can save an average family up to 700 gallons of water annually. Aerators are inexpensive, ranging in price from $2 to $6, and have a simple payback of as little as one month.
Toilets account for nearly 30 percent of household water use. Older toilets can use up to six gallons per flush, while newer, low-flow toilets use as little as less than a gallon per flush. Low-flow toilets can save an average family up to 13,000 gallons of water and $110 in costs annually.