(ARA) - In today's environmentally conscious times, it seems we're surrounded by the need to shop, act and live "green." Some of our choices are easy and small, while others can be big and costly. But one thing is for sure - each choice can make a significant difference.
Some of the most important green choices we can make are right within our own home, according to Kevin McJoynt at Danze, Inc..
"Installing items like Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient windows is a great step in moving your home to be more green," says McJoynt. "But changing your in-home water usage can have the most impact."
According to McJoynt, water shortages, energy demands and the cost of transporting water continue to rise. "Finding ways to simply reduce our usage without dramatically altering our lifestyle could save billions of gallons of water each year in the United States."
McJoynt offers up these tips on how you can immediately start conserving water (and save money) in your home:
Replace older toilets (1992 or earlier) with newer, high efficiency toilets (HETs). They operate at 1.28 gallons per flush and could save 11 gallons of water per toilet per day. According to McJoynt, Danze has several new HETs that outperform and are more stylish than many toilets found in current homes.
Be sure to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - it could save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year.
Update your bathrooms with newer WaterSense certified lavatory faucets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program, if every household in the U.S. installed these water-saving lavatory faucets, more than $350 million in water utility bills and more than 60 billion gallons of water annually would be saved, plus $600 million in energy costs for heating the water.
Always turn the water off between tasks. Letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.
Make sure to wash only full loads of laundry. Using a high-efficiency washing machine is ideal, as they use about 28 gallons of water per load, versus an average machine that uses 41 gallons.
Take a shower rather than a bath. A full bath tub requires up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. Want to be even more efficient? Switch your showerhead to a water-saving option.
Fix those leaks. Most leaky faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year.
"We realize showers are a tricky one when it comes to saving water. Homeowners want to make sure they have a well-performing shower experience," says McJoynt. "However, the EPA WaterSense program recently published standards for showerheads that consider both conservation and performance to build support of these water-saving units. Be sure to look for the WaterSense certification mark."
"Better design and engineering of many new bathroom products actually gives the user improved performance as well as efficiency," adds McJoynt. "Faucets, toilets and showerheads are great examples. They're just like other appliances that use less energy, but still work very well."
If all the water-saving green choices still have you overwhelmed, select one tip at a time and incorporate it into your home. Looking for other tips? Visit the EPA's WaterSense website.