5 Ways to Save Water & Energy in the Bathroom
Being green is now something we must all do to combat the climate emergency, but what can you do to make a bathroom eco-friendly? Well, for this month's edition of our Expert Writers series, we're here to inspire you!
We asked Stacey Sheppard of the award-winning home interiors blog, The Design Sheppard, to share some of her ideas on how to make a bathroom environmentally-friendly. The first part of her double-feature is all about how to save water and energy in your bathroom.
Read on for some expert insight on how to save water and energy in your bathroom!
We all know that water is a precious resource but as population growth continues unabated, so too does our demand for water. Couple this with climate change and our water supply is becoming more unpredictable than ever.
As a consequence, energy and water bills are on the up, so we really need to start re-evaluating our household water and energy use. Many of us have already started to make changes but there is still a long way to go before we really make a difference.
Reducing Water Usage & Wastage in the Bathroom
According to the Energy Saving Trust, water used in the home now accounts for over half of all public water supply use. The average home uses 350 litres of water nearly every day and a large proportion of that is used in the bathroom. Showers, lavatories, baths and bathroom sinks consume more than two-thirds (68%) of household water.
Unsurprisingly, a large majority of people cannot accurately gauge their own water usage. A 2016 report by Waterwise, an independent, not-for-profit UK NGO focused on reducing water consumption in the UK, states that 85% of people don’t know how much water they use per day on average. Most people estimate between 50 and 100 litres per day when in reality, the figure is closer to an average of 142 litres a day.
There are a number of ways that we can reduce our daily water consumption so let’s take a look at our options.
Fit Flow Regulators to Showers
You may have assumed that washing machines are the biggest consumers of water in the home, in which case you’re wrong. It’s actually showers. The Energy Saving Trust’s At Home with Water report states that across Britain, we use in the order of 840 billion litres each year, and spend around £2.3 billion on heating water for showers.
Showers alone account for 25% of a household’s water consumption. On average, each individual takes 4.4 showers and 1.3 baths each week and people generally spend seven-and-a-half minutes in the shower. 87% of people do not exceed ten minutes on their daily shower.
Spending money on more efficient bathroom appliances can lead to important water and money savings down the line. A water-efficient showerhead can be as cheap as £15 but can bring total savings of £185 on gas and water bills.
Modern water-efficient showerheads with flow regulators use technology that can make a low flow rate feel far higher than it is. This is an easy way to save both water and energy without impacting on the bathing experience.
Install a Dual Flush Toilet
Lavatories are the second biggest consumer of household water (22%). Every year, more than 740 billion litres of water – enough to fill 300,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools – is flushed down the toilet.
Nearly half of homes could make efficiency improvements to their toilet. It is possible to fit a cistern water displacement device which allows homeowners to save up to a couple of litres of water per flush.
Another option is upgrading to a dual-flush toilet, which would save approximately 12,500 litres per person, per year. That’s the equivalent to 150 average-sized baths full of water. Currently, only 41% of homes have a dual-flush toilet. So there is lots of room for improvement.
Fit Aerators to Taps
The obvious way to reduce water consumption when it comes to taps is to be more aware. Don’t leave taps running and make sure you repair leaky taps. Leaving a tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving wastes six litres of water a minute. A dripping tap will waste well over 5,000 litres a year.
Another way to save water is by installing low flow taps or adding aerators to bathroom taps. These are easy to install and, like flow regulators for showers, they reduce the flow of the water without changing how that feels to the user.
Get a Reduced Capacity Bathtub
The easiest way to save water when it comes to taking a bath is to take a quick shower instead. However, if you do take a bath, be mindful of the size of the bathtub and how much water goes into it. A standard bathtub has a capacity of about 80 litres, so even if you don’t fill it up, that’s still a lot of water. If you’re replacing a bath, try to source one with a lower capacity.
Reducing Energy Consumption in the Bathroom
Reduce Energy Usage
It takes huge amounts of energy to treat water and pump it into our homes and then heat it up so we can use it. In fact, heating water is the second-largest source of energy use in the home.
About 28 percent of a typical household's heating bill is from heating the water for showers, baths and hot water from the tap. This costs, on average, about £125 a year.
If every household in the UK took just one minute off one shower every day, it would save £215 million in energy bills a year nationwide. If everyone in a four-person metered household with a power shower did this, it could save £60 on energy bills, and a further £60 on water bills, every year.
It’s also worth considering if your boiler is the most energy-efficient it can be. If not, you may want to look at upgrading it so you can make the most of the available energy savings and reduce the cost of your energy bills.
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