Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Carbon Footprint: Low Flow

This is the sixth entry in my series about reducing your personal carbon footprint. So far, I have suggested that you ride the bus, take the stairs, live in the water-powered Northwest, think differently about air travel and recycle aluminum. I enjoy writing these tips; I hope you enjoy reading them. That this is number six also means that I have been keeping up with my regular blogging for almost two months.

Today I want to share with you information that could reduce your carbon footprint, lower your electricity bill and conserve our watersheds. How much? Well... To start, the Department of Energy estimates that electric water heaters are the second biggest energy sink in homes without natural gas. (I am guessing this is after the fridge.) Where does the warmth in that guilty pleasure of a long hot shower come from? In most homes, gas and coal fired power plants. A utilities sponsored study found that a family of four could save 14,000 gallons of water a year just by switching to an energy efficient shower head. This amounts to 21 cents a day on water and 51 cents a day on electricity bills.

Energy efficient shower heads and faucet aerators work by inserting air into the water stream. The contents come out at the same pressure - there is just less water. Evidently, the water cools faster though. According to one site,
if you are tall, you may notice that the water has cooled a little before it reaches your feet.
Interesting. Hopefully this fact does not convince my wife that we should not switch the head in our household. But speaking of switching, you can get a FREE aerating shower head by calling 206-684-3800 or emailing rescons.scl@seattle.gov. In addition, many Puget Sound residents will soon be mailed forms with which they can receive two FREE faucet aerators and one shower head. You can go to this website and register before the crowds to make sure you get one. There are also numerous additional tips to reduce your water usage at that site.

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