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P2 Week | It Pays to Conserve Our Resources

Simple changes to our daily routines along with a few minor adjustments and repairs at home can go a long way toward saving money and the environment. For instance, fixing a single slow-leaking faucet can save around 34 gallons of water and anywhere from $20 to $200 over the course of a year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s calculator. Also, by simply replacing 15 incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting, you can save up to $50 per year. Read on for more ideas on how to conserve water and energy at home and work, while also reducing expenses.

Water Conservation

According to the EPA, the average family of four uses approximately 400 gallons of water per day, and annual household leaks add up to more than 1 trillion gallons f wasted water nationwide. A simple way to begin to reduce this number is to identify leaky fixtures and have them repaired. 

Examine faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, gaskets and pipe fittings for leaks, using pipe tape to ensure there is a tight connection between threaded components. To identify toilet leaks, place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 10 minutes, you likely have a leak (make sure to flush immediately to avoid staining the tank). 

For washing machines, check that all connections are tight fitting and in good shape. Avoid using too much detergent or overloading the washer to prevent leaks. If problems persist, consult a technician.

More Tips: 

  • Place a small trash can in the bathroom as an alternative to flushing garbage down the toilet. 
  • Don’t leave the tap running when shaving, brushing your teeth or washing dishes. 
  • Minimize baths, as showers typically use 1/5 the amount of water. 
  • Consider purchasing a dishwasher, as they typically use fewer gallons per load than hand washing. 
  • Avoid using the large load setting on the washing machine for small loads. 
  • Install aerators and low-flow faucets, toilets and shower heads. 
  • Clean your vehicle at a car wash, as newer establishments have sophisticated reclamation systems that reuse the water many times.
  • Landscape with desert friendly vegetation.
  • Consider installing a sprinkler system with moisture sensors that prevent overwatering.
  • Use just a little water to rinse recyclables by closing and shaking containers vigorously.

Energy Conservation 

Leaky windows, insufficient insulation and old, inefficient appliances are common culprits of energy waste and can create a major strain on the electric bill, if ignored. In fact, nearly half of the energy costs in a typical home come from heating and cooling, so be sure to check for air leaks around windows, doors, lighting fixtures and electrical outlets to prevent wasted energy. Also, have your attic and basement walls, crawl spaces, ceilings and floors checked for adequate insulation, and properly maintain any appliances and cooling/heating systems. 

More Tips: 

  • Incorporate sensors and dimmers where possible. 
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. 
  • When ready, upgrade dishwashers, refrigerators, washer/dryers and other electronics with products displaying the Energy Star® label.
  • Upgrade lighting with LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes use about 75 to 80 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps last about 10 times longer and use 1/4 of the energy) instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. 
  • Make use of natural light during cooler months. 
  • Use blackout curtains and close the shades during hotter months to keep cool. 
  • Wash bigger laundry loads, using cold water and avoiding the Extra Rinse or Super Wash setting when possible.
  • Ensure dryer vents are clean and lint-free.
  • Purchase energy-efficient blow dryers and hair straighteners. 
  • Save energy when cooking by preparing larger meals for the week instead of daily, cutting food into smaller pieces for faster cooking, and using the right size pan and burner for the job.
  • Report overly hot water at work to reduce water temperature and save energy.
  • Use the double-sided setting to print.
Check your water and energy usage progress by examining utility bills before and after implementing these practices. Even the smallest reductions in water and energy use can collectively make a big impact on the environment and your savings. See the P2 House for tips on how to save in each room | View Now >