Water is one of the most precious materials on the planet, so when you decide to design an environmentally friendly or sustainable home, one of your main focuses should be water conservation. By using sustainable building materials and a few easy practices, you can ensure that your water consumption is as low as possible and your bills hit an all time low. Today we will touch on some of the easiest and most effective ways to do this.
Low Flow Fixtures
One of the first things to consider when you want to minimise your water use is to install water efficient, low flow appliances. When you are designing your bathroom, you should consider using 3/6 Litre dual flush toilets. They have two flush options for maximum water savings. You should also try to incorporate low-flow shower fixtures and aerated low-flow faucets.
While cost may be a concern when you are purchasing your fixtures, you should remember that the fixtures pay for themselves in the long run. You should look for fixtures and household appliances with a very high water efficiency rating. You should also consider staying away from in-sink food disposal systems in your kitchen, because while they make life easier, they also require a lot of water. If you happen to come across any leaks in the home, you should repair them as soon as possible because a simple leak can waste thousands of gallons of water if left unattended.
Rain & Grey Water
Whether you purchase water from your city or town system or if you have your own well, you should consider using rainwater systems and grey water systems. If you install an effective guttering system, you can use rainwater for your laundry, toiler, showers, watering the garden, and even for drinking if you have a purification system.
A grey water recycling system can also be implemented to allow water from sinks, showers, and laundry to be reused for gardening purposes. When you decide to use either of these systems, you will need to consult with your local council to get approval.
Water Efficient Gardens
This may seem like a strange concept, but through the use of several eco-friendly solutions, you can minimise the amount of water needed for your garden. Using drip-line irrigation for your vegetable or fruit garden along with mulch that has high water retention capability will help to minimise water use. You should also consider using local plants such as Kanuka or Manuka, which do not require much watering.
There is nothing like a nice hot shower or bath, but you should consider the energy cost of your heating system. In order to save money on electricity and water, you should consider using energy efficient, on demand, heaters with pipe insulation to minimise heat loss. A good practise for the insulation on pipes is to cover the first 6-8 feet of piping coming from the heater and using an Insulation blanket.
Protect the Natural Water Table
In order to minimise your impact on the water table, you should avoid extensive excavation of your terrain and avoid disposing of concrete waste in storm drains or natural waterways. Limiting the amount of impermeable structures like solid concrete walkways, and using loose brick or stone walkways will allow all the water to enter your soil instead of running off. This will allow you to save money and water that would be put into irrigating your garden.
Lastly, you should avoid using too many fertilisers and pesticides since they often pollute the natural water table and can reduce the water retention capability of the soil in your yard. Use eco-friendly natural fertilizers and non-toxic alternatives whenever they are available.