The average household wastes at least 10,000 gallons of water every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With the average price of water in the United States sitting at about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons, a leaky faucet is quite literally money trickling down the drain. Dripping at the rate of one drip per second, a leaky faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, according to the EPA’s WaterSense program. Pair that with the $130 billion a year that Americans spend on wasted energy and suddenly greening your home sounds pretty snazzy, right?
Luckily, you don’t need to break the bank to reduce energy usage and save water at home. All it takes is a few simple eco home improvements to green your home and save some green in the process.
Green Home Improvements to Save Water at Home
“1 percent of the earth’s water is fresh for consumption; 2 percent is frozen and the rest is salt water! UNESCO predicts that by 2020, water shortages will be a serious worldwide issue. In the US, over 340 billion barrels are used daily from surface and aquifer resources resulting in long-term deficit as more is removed than can be replenished. Luckily, there are simple efficiency measures which can reduce a home’s usage up to 30 percent.”
Julie Jacobson | REDFIN
Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Start with installing a low-flow, water-efficient showerhead. It’s as simple as screwing in a lightbulb and can save the average household up to 2,900 gallons per year, according to the EPA. Bonus points if you opt for a cold shower:
“Hot water production is the second-largest component of home energy consumption after space heating, accounting for 13 percent of total residential energy use.”
Install High-Efficiency Toilets
Reduce your family’s water usage by installing a high-efficiency toilet. If your toilet is leaking, don’t ignore it. According to Express Sewer, a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day. Replace old, inefficient models with water-saving toilets. According to the EPA, WaterSense labeled toilets use 1.28 gallons or less per flush to save water at home, which saves you more than $110 per year in water costs.
Harvest Rainwater in Rain Barrels
The average lawn uses 125 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet, according to Lowe’s Home Improvement. Water your lawn and garden with natural rainwater to waste less water. Easy and inexpensive, rain barrel systems are a great way to save water at home. Many neighborhoods even implement sustainable community programs that offer rain barrels free of charge.
Eco Home Improvements to Save Energy at Home
“22 percent of the nation’s energy is consumed in the housing sector where approximately 75 percent energy is derived from the burning of fossil fuels which release CO2 into the atmosphere contributing to global warming, releasing nitrogen and sulfur oxides which contribute to smog and acid rain.”
Julie Jacobson | REDFIN
Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use significantly less energy, saving you money. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) may cost a little more at purchase, but last even longer, making them well worth the investment.
Seal and Insulate Your Home
One of the most cost-effective ways to save energy at home is to make sure cracks and crevices are sealed. Replace wall insulation and caulk around drafty areas like window frames, electrical outlets and window-mounted air conditioners to reduce energy costs. Consider easy green home improvements like weather stripping and window seals for doors and windows.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Heating and cooling your home while at work or away is a waste of energy and money. Install a programmable thermostat for a quick and easy way to cut energy costs by only heating or cooling when necessary.
“A programmable thermostat can reduce energy use by 20 percent to 30 percent, possibly saving as much [as] $180 annually on utility bills.”
Natural Resources Defense Council