CarbonCurb Action 3 - Low-Flow Fixtures

Low-flow bathroom: The average American shower lasts more than 8 minutes and uses over 2 gallons per minute (gpm). Installing a low-flow showerhead is a great way to reduce hot water consumption. Buy a shower fixture that allows less than 2 gpm of flow. Shower fixtures are available at less than 1 gpm. While you're at it, ensure the fixtures for your bathroom sinks allow less than 1 gpm of flow. 0.5 gpm of flow is plenty for bathroom sinks. You can use a gallon or half-gallon container and a timer to determine the current flow rates of your faucets. Reducing the flow rate of your shower is just one way to conserve water and energy. You can also use a shower timer or an alarm to assist you in reducing the length of your showers to five minutes or less. If you're truly committed to the CarbonCurb initiative, you'll turn off the water while you shampoo, scrub, and shave. You will most definitely stop brushing your teeth in the shower, and will turn off the tap while you brush your teeth outside of the shower.

Low-flow kitchen: Even if you adopt the water- and energy-saving recommendations from CarbonCurb for dishwashing and avoid pre-rinsing your dishes, you will likely still use some hot water in the kitchen for washing pots and pans among other things. This is especially true if you don't have a dishwasher! Ensure the fixture for your kitchen sink isn't dumping your money down the drain by installing a new fixture or aerator rated at 1 gpm or less. This will dramatically reduce the amount of hot water you use. Break bad water-energy habits, such as leaving the water running while you scrub dishes. Use cooking habits that minimize the amount of dishes produced. Drink from the same cup several times before declaring it dirty. Try to optimize your water usage by becoming more systematic. An effective method of reducing hot water consumption is to put about a quarter-sized amount of soap on the course side of the sponge. Let this sink into the sponge, then slowly drizzle some water on top of that until the entire sponge is saturated to disperse the soap throughout the sponge. This will slowly release all of the soap you need as you clean your dishes. The water should be off the whole time, with exception to the few times you turn it back on momentarily to saturate the sponge again. After scrubbing everything, turn the water on low and rinse all of your dishes at once in one go-through. 

By reducing your hot water consumption through a combination of installing low-flow fixtures and developing habits that are mindful of hot water consumption, you can easily halve the amount of energy your water heater uses for non-standby load. As with Action 2, the first-year energy savings that will result from you completing Action 3 will more than offset the one-time cost of purchasing new faucet fixtures. That is, of course, assuming you select new fixtures that significantly reduce the current average flowrates of your faucets. The impact of completing Action 3 is:

Annual Savings:

115 kg CO2e

0.7% of your GHGs

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