Don’t let your money go down the drain: How to conserve water in your home
The Earth’s surface is covered by more than 70% of water, so why are conservationists harping on about water usage and effective water systems? Although 70% sounds like we have enough water to last us till the end of time, the fact of the matter is, it’s simply not. First of all, that water does not belong solely to humans. There are millions of species that call Earth home and require healthy, clean water to consume, and live in to survive. Another factor that cuts down our quality supply of water is pollution. We, humans, are the main cause of water pollution throughout the world. This occurs in many ways, dumping of industrial waste, temperatures rising, and deforestation, to name a few. WE are responsible for that state of the world, so WE need to ensure we are doing everything we can to make the most of our water and protect it. Let’s take a look at how homeowners can ensure they are doing their part to conserve water.
Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of natural rainwater, usually from a roof or alike surface. Rather than allowing rain to run off and be wasted, it is captured and transferred to a tank, cistern. In most home-settings, your rainwater would likely be collected and stored in a tank. So, now that you’ve got all of this harvested rain-water, what it can be used for? As a general rule of thumb harvested rainwater is only drinkable once it has undergone a disinfection treatment or purification process. In some cases, it has been identified that rainwater was safe to drink when gathered from a well-maintained and covered rooftop. However, to err on the side of caution, treat the water, or at the very least test it before you use it for things such as drinking and bathing. Harvested rainwater is of great use for things such as toilet water, daily irrigation, and watering of plants, as well as activities similar to that of cleaning your car.
Greywater is water that has already been used at least once. A greywater system collects wastewater from washbasins, showers, and baths and sends the wastewater to be filtered and pumped into a storage tank. From this point, greywater is much that of the same as harvested rainwater. The water is now clean and useable and can be used for tasks such as irrigation, household cleaning such as mopping, and toilet flushing. But is not advised for drinking and bathing.
Energy recovery drains
A drain water heat recovery pipe is a simple technology that can be added to your home. This copper pipe catches the hot water running down the drain and uses it to preheat the water going into your hot water tank. Kind of like when you boil the kettle to put hot water onto the stove, it saves you time and effort because the water is hotter faster. Except this will save you energy that would ordinarily be used to heat the water from scratch. At this time, these systems are rare in New Zealand. We hope that with time and progression these systems will become more readily available for homeowners.
Superhome Movement also suggests that you take your outdoor setting into consideration. Items such as permeable pavers can help reduce stormwater runoff and help rainwater return to the soil in a natural manner. In addition to this ensuring that your home has efficient taps and fittings (no dripping!). You may also consider added features such as low flush settings on toilets and low water usage options for showers. Be sure to ask your designer and plumbing merchant about these possibilities.
It’s important to realise that saving water, saves you money. Especially as the cost of our water deliveries continues to rise. All of these practices are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live in a more environmentally friendly way. We believe that these practices should become more mainstream in New Zealand housing to build towards a more eco-conscious society.