I’m a big fan of WaterSense, the program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that inspires companies to produce appliances and gadgets that help people like you and me save money. When I needed to replace my toilet last year, I made sure it met the WaterSense standards, and when I’ve purchased water timers for my garden, they’ve been WaterSense models, too. This month, WaterSense is focusing its attention on showers, since conventional showers waste so much H2O. I invited Karen Wirth, EPA’s WaterSense Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, to explain why it makes sense to take a WaterSense shower. Here’s what she had to say:
The shower is a place where we wake up, wind down, or just have a little “me” time in an otherwise hectic day. But did you know it’s also one of the most common places indoors where you might be wasting water, energy, and money?
Showering is one of the leading ways we use water at home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. The average family uses about 40 gallons of water daily in the shower alone. That adds up to nearly 1.2 trillion gallons used nationwide each year just for showering. Shaving just one minute off your shower time can save more than 500 gallons of water annually, as well as the same amount of electricity as it takes to run your laptop all year!
In 2006, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created WaterSense® as a label for high-efficiency plumbing products that not only use less water, but work as well (or better) than their water-guzzling counterparts. What’s more, we require products that earn the label to be independently certified to our rigorous criteria for both water savings and performance.
Take showerheads, for example. EPA requires WaterSense-labeled models to be tested for both spray force and water coverage in addition to water savings, so you can enjoy a relaxing and satisfying shower knowing you’re saving resources and doing your part for the environment. In other words, you’ll shower better.
And don’t forget, it takes energy to heat our shower water. Let’s say you take an eight-minute shower. If you’re using a WaterSense-labeled showerhead, every time you shower, you’ll save four gallons of water, plus the electricity it takes to light a 60-watt bulb for eight hours. For a whole family, replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model can save 2,900 gallons of water per year, or the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry! The average American family can also save enough energy each year to power their home for 13 days, and cut annual water and energy costs by more than $70.
In places like California, which is experiencing its worst drought in decades, saving water is especially important. Across the country, if every U.S. home replaced its showerheads with WaterSense-labeled models, we could save more than 260 billion gallons of water annually. WaterSense-labeled models are available in a wide variety of styles and price points, so you’re sure to find one that works for you. And, best of all, you’ll be making a simple change for the better.
In honor of EPA’s Shower Better Month this October, why not give yourself a green upgrade with a WaterSense-labeled showerhead? Many water utilities are offering free showerhead replacements or rebates on WaterSense labeled models; check out EPA’s website. Money isn’t all you will save, but it sure is a good start!