Saving The Planet One Flush At A Time, When we think about making our homes more environmentally friendly, we usually think about reducing our energy usage – better insulation and draft proofing, more efficient appliances, and modern heating and air conditioning. What often escapes our attention is water – how much we use, and how much dirty water gets poured down the drain.
You need to think of water as a precious resource. Even if it is relatively abundant where you live, when you use excessive amounts of water, you still put additional strain on the water supply. Then, there is the energy needed to pump water from its source, treat it, and then forward it on to your home.
Once you have used the water, the whole process runs in reverse, with the water being brought back to sewage treatment plants – again using energy and generating further greenhouse gases.
Saving The Planet One Flush At A Time
Fortunately, advances in plumbing technology have made it possible to reduce the amount of water that you use. Low-flow toilets are a case in point – these typically use about 1.6 gallons per flush, as opposed to over twice that with a conventional toilet. These are now mandatory in new installations.
In fact, there are laws in Los Angeles and other major cities making it illegal for home-sellers to have anything but a low-flow toilet installed. You can bet that most Los Angeles and surrounding area plumbers are up to their necks with low-flow installations. However, there’s a good chance you may still have an old toilet that needs replacing.
If you do, you can save even more water by putting in a dual-flush model that gives you two buttons – one for a standard 1.6 gallon flush, and another that only uses 1.1 gallons when full force isn’t required. If you think about how many times your toilet gets flushed in a day, the water savings soon mount up.
Aside from your toilet, you need to address the other things that drive up your water usage. One of these is when you take a shower in the morning. Actually, assuming you spend five minutes in the shower, you’re likely to use about 25 gallons of water if your shower is old.
That’s like flushing a low-flow toilet 15 times. That’s astounding if you think about it. The solution is to have a plumber install low-flow showerheads for you. For example, if you live in the Houston area, look up a reputable Houston plumbing company, get them to do the job, and also get them to provide you with a set of recommendations on other ways you can reduce your water usage.
If you’re really enthusiastic about conserving water, you may want to consider a greywater recycling system. Greywater is the water left over from baths, showers and hand basins and, while you certainly can’t drink it, it can be used to flush toilets and water the garden.
The water needs to be treated still, or it will start to go off quickly because it contains organic matter. A combination of filtering and digestion with bacteria is all that is needed, which can be done easily in your home. However, you will need to get a recycling tank installed and have your plumbing rerouted to take greywater to the tank.
Green Solutions to Pool Care
If you own an outdoor swimming pool, you need to keep it clean, for the sake of your environment as well as of yourself (swimming pools that are not properly taken care of gather germs which can be deadly to anyone who swims in them). It can also save you a great deal of money on energy. This article will give you some valuable tips for more eco-friendly pool care.
Install a chlorine-generating system
For over fifty years now, chlorine has been an essential ingredient in swimming pools, being put into the water to kill off harmful bacteria. (Incidentally, the chlorine itself does not have this effect; that is accomplished by the oxygen that is released as a result of chemical reactions with the water.) A chlorine- (or salt-) generating system, consisting of high-energy filters and pumps, can conserve the water, save energy use by as much as 90 percent, reduce the amount of time and money spent on maintaining the pool (utility costs, for instance, can be reduced by $1,000) and cut down the noise from the machines. Chlorine- and salt-generating systems can even making the water in your pool feel like you are in your bathtub!
Automatic covers and controls
During the off-season months, a cover is put on the pool to protect it from cold weather, decaying autumn leaves and other harmful debris. You can save energy by putting in an automatic cover that can be operated with a remote control. Such a cover can also help reduce the amount of maintenance work that needs to be done. It also cuts down on the usage of the heater, thus enabling it to last longer before being replaced.
Other automatic controls can also be installed in your pool. A low NOx emission pool heater gives off a minimum amount of nitrogen oxide, which is a major component in acid rain and smog. All the equipment operations of the pool can be synchronized through a system of automatic controls that ensure that it runs properly. They can even prolong the swimming season for you.
The lighting for your swimming pool also needs to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. The lights that best fit that criteria are LED lights, which use the least energy — less than a quarter of that used by halogen and incandescent light bulbs. They thus last much longer — up to 30,000 hours, the equivalent of 7,500 days or 20½ years! That is how long you can wait before you have to replace the bulb.
Other technology and equipment that can save energy
Solar water heating
Installing solar panels to heat the pool can reduce your energy consumption by about 70 percent. No one likes to swim in a cold pool, so a good heating system is very important to have. Solar energy is perfectly clean and does not cost anything, and besides it can make your swimming season twice as long!
Cleaning the pool
Debris and chemicals from the outside are constantly entering the swimming pool. At one time, the only way of cleaning a dirty swimming pool was to drain it — and that can be dangerous, as a drained pool becomes vulnerable to other issues, such as “popping up” from the ground, cracked or blistered shells or loose tiles. Fortunately, it is not the only available option today — trained experts can filter out dirt and chemicals that can leave the water as clean as it was when you first installed the pool.
Have your pool professionally maintained and cared for
Swimming pools must always be meticulously cared for if they are to remain safe for swimming in. There are those businesses whose personnel are specially trained in such maintenance — where most of the tips given above are taken from. The people who work for Shoreline Pools have had years of technical training and you can choose from several pool care plans. And there is no need to store any harmful chemicals in your house.