WaterSense

Earth Month Tip: Use low-flow WaterSense showerheads

By replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, EPA estimates the average family can save 2,900 gallons of water, the amount of electricity needed to power its home for 13 days, and more than $70 in energy and water costs every year.

Changes we make at home can make a huge difference. If every home in the United States replaced existing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models, we could conserve more than 260 billion gallons of water and save nearly $5.1 billion in water and energy costs across the country annually while preventing carbon pollution.

Learn more: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/shower_better.html

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Earth Month Tip: Choose WaterSense

A series of daily tips throughout April.

WaterSense is an EPA partnership program that helps consumers conserve water and save money without compromising performance. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient than their counterparts.

Did you know that using WaterSense labeled products could reduce a household’s faucet water use by more than 500 gallons annually? Upgrading to more efficient WaterSense labeled products can help us to save billions of gallons of water in each year, conserve energy and reduce carbon pollution.


Learn more: http://epa.gov/watersense/

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Take a second to fix some leaks!

Water SenseBy Kimberly Scharl

American households waste more than 1 trillion gallons of clean drinking water each year due to leaky pipes, toilets, showerheads and other fixtures. Fixing these leaks can be easy and inexpensive, and can save you nearly 10% on utility bills.  EPA’s WaterSense program spent the week of March 17-23 encouraging everyone to “chase down” plumbing leaks during the 6th annual Fix a Leak Week. To kick off the week, EPA hosted a Twitter Chat with tweets featuring Flo, the WaterSense mascot at different locations in the mid-Atlantic, challenging each location to participate in Fix a Leak Week. Flo appeared at the White House, the Liberty Bell and with the ponies at Assateague!

Throughout the rest of the week, my coworkers and I participated in several more events and activities.  At the Energy Awareness Fair at the Naval Support Activity Base in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, we highlighted the link between water savings and energy savings by promoting water efficiency in homes and communities. Using less water means water and wastewater utilities need to use less energy for their pumps.

We also visited Eyer Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania, to talk with sixth graders about saving water in their homes.  We used a WaterSense-labeled shower head to demonstrate its water savings as compared to a traditional fixture.  In preparation for our visit, the classes explored Recycle City to learn about other ways to save water and energy.

Even though Fix a Leak Week is officially over, any time is a good time to find and stop water leaks in your home.  And when it comes to repairing leaky fixtures, you don’t need to be a home repair expert. Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves–all often easy to fix. You might only need a few tools and hardware, and these fixes can pay for themselves in water savings. Check out this video by Spartanburg Water on detecting a leaky toilet.

Take the Pledge!

Join us and thousands of your friends and neighbors in taking simple actions to save water. Take the “I’m for Water” pledge, and make a commitment to saving this precious resource.

For more information on Fix a Leak Week and the WaterSense program, go to www.epa.gov/watersense. You can also follow WaterSense on Facebook and Twitter!

How do you save water during Fix a Leak Week and everyday? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: Kimberly Scharl joined EPA in 2010, after moving to Pennsylvania from Mississippi. She is a financial analyst and project officer in the Office of Infrastructure and Assistance, and is the Regional Liaison for the WaterSense Program. Kim enjoys bowling and spending time with her family.

 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Enverdezca su hogar durante las fiestas

Por Lina Younes

Como las fiestas se avecinan, es un buen momento  para hacer reparaciones verdes antes de las festividades.  Personalmente, siempre me ha intrigado el hecho de que aquí en los Estados Unidos continentales mucha gente considera la primavera como la época ideal para hacer una buena limpieza o remodelación en el hogar. Sin embargo, yo me recuerdo de mi infancia en Puerto Rico. Recuerdo que allí la temporada preferida para hacer revisiones en el hogar ocurría mayormente en el otoño. Una de las razones principales de las diferencias en los hábitos de hacer mejoras en el hogar podría ser el cambio de las estaciones. Como en Puerto Rico, el clima es tropical y disfrutamos de condiciones veraniegas todo el año, la motivación principal para reparar el hogar usualmente estaba vinculada con la anticipada llegada de visitantes durante las fiestas.

¿Entonces, qué puede hacer para crear un ambiente más acogedor, más sano y más ecológico para su familia y amistades?  He aquí algunas sugerencias.

·         Limpie los filtros de aire regularmente para mejorar la calidad del aire interior en su hogar.

·         Inspeccione su hogar para ver si tiene moho. Este puede crecer en áreas donde haya agua o humedad. Limpie el moho de superficies duras. Descarte aquellos artículos que no pueda limpiar y haga las reparaciones necesarias para resolver el problema de humedad para así evitar que vuelva a ocurrir.

·         Pinte su casa para remozarla. Sin embargo, si fue construida antes del 1978, podría tener pintura a base de plomo que podría perjudicar a su familia. Asegúrese de pintar y hacer las reparaciones de manera segura para prevenir el envenenamiento por plomo.

·         Si piensa renovar los baños o la cocina, considere instalar inodoros y efectos de plomería con la etiqueta WaterSense. Estos son más eficientes y le ayudarán a ahorrar agua y dinero mientras a la misma vez protege el medio ambiente.

·         Caliente y enfría su hogar de manera más eficiente con Energy Star. Así reducirá la factura de energía y hará su hogar más confortable mientras reduce su huella de carbono.

·         Piense en maneras en las cuales puede reducir los desechos durante las fiestas al usar platos y cubiertos reutilizables y almacenar los alimentos y sobras en envases reutilizables.

¿Ha pensado en hacer algunas reparaciones verdes en su hogar para las fiestas este año? Nos encantaría escuchar su opinión. Comparta sus experiencias con nosotros.

Acerca de la autora: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE.UU. desde el 2002 y se desempeña, en la actualidad, como portavoz hispana de la Agencia, así como enlace de asuntos multilingües de EPA. Además, ha laborado como la escritora y editora de los blogs en español de EPA durante los pasados cuatro años. Antes de unirse a la Agencia, dirigió la oficina en Washington, DC de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales a lo largo de su carrera profesional en la Capital Federal.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Making Federal Government Purchasing Greener

greenproductsWith the holiday season around the corner, your family may seem like the biggest purchaser of goods and services— but holiday season aside, the government is the largest single purchaser of goods and services, in the world. In fact, the federal government purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services.

Although our shopping list may contain similar items as yours – cleaning products, light bulbs, electronics, and paper for your printer- the federal government buys millions of these items. And there are a number of requirements that we have to meet before we can buy, including a mandate to meet a 95% goal for sustainable purchasing.

So how does the federal government identify and buy greener, more sustainable products? You may be familiar with some of EPA’s ecolabels such as Energy Star, WaterSense, and Design for the Environment – labels that identify products meeting strict federal standards for energy, water and safer chemicals. And there’s USDA’s BioPreferred label for bio-based products.

More

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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It’s Not Psycho to ‘Shower Better’ with WaterSense

By Kim Scharl    

You know how the classic horror film goes. You’re in the shower, escaping the outside world and winding down…until that music comes on and the curtain flings open.

How terrifying – you’re wasting so much water in your shower!  The horror!!

So what if there was a better, less scary way to shower? There is, thanks to WaterSense labeled showerheads. You can experience superior shower performance and save water, energy, and money simply by replacing your showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model this fall.

Drain with vampire teeth

If you dare, click the image above to listen to a podcast with more about the scary ways you may be wasting water, energy, and money in your shower.

Showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallons per household per day. That’s nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States annually just for showering! The good news is that with a WaterSense labeled showerhead, you can save four gallons of water every time you shower.

Showerheads that have earned the WaterSense label are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and meet EPA’s performance criteria for spray force and water coverage, which means you really will shower better – comfortably and more efficiently, while getting just as clean.

What’s more, installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead can save the average family the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry each year. Because energy is required to heat the water coming to your shower, your family can also save enough electricity to power your home for 13 days per year and cut utility bills by nearly $70 annually.

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or simply interested in ways to save around the house, look for the WaterSense label on your next showerhead. To make the showering savings even sweeter, some utilities offer rebates, giveaways, promotions, or other incentives to promote water-efficient showerheads.

October is Energy Awareness Month, so this Halloween, learn more about WaterSense labeled showerheads and see a list of models at the WaterSense-Labeled Showerheads page. In addition, the WaterSense Rebate Finder lists some of the rebates utilities offer on WaterSense-labeled showerheads and other plumbing fixtures.  You can also listen to this spooky podcast about saving water and energy in your home.

So Shower Better with WaterSense.  Your water use can be one less thing to be scared of in the shower on a dark and stormy night.

About the Author: Kimberly Scharl has worked at the Environmental Protection Agency since 2010, after moving to Pennsylvania from Mississippi.  She is a financial analyst and project officer for the Water Protection Division, Office of Infrastructure and Assistance.  She is also the Regional Liason for the WaterSense Program.  Kim enjoys bowling and spending time with her family.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Going Off The Grid

By Lina Younes

The other night, I was flipping channels when I stumbled upon a reality show that piqued my interest. It featured a family that had decided to go completely off the grid.

I was intrigued as to why people in the 21st century would purposely choose to live like the early pioneers. No electricity. No running water. Sewing their own clothes or buying second hand clothes at thrift shops, making their own candles and the like. The father basically made a living performing with his family at community events. They had no special equipment – just a guitar and their voices, of course.

Personally, I can’t imagine living without electric power and running water. I’ve seen how living without electricity for several hours during a blackout basically paralyzes a family. I’ve also seen how much adults and children have become too dependent on electronics. In my opinion, many times these gadgets interfere with our ability to simply step back, engage in outdoor activities and enjoy our natural surroundings. On a personal level, the show definitely made me think about this issue. I’m not advocating in any way to turn the clock back to the era of the pioneers. Nonetheless, shouldn’t we be more thoughtful and deliberate when buying things?

At EPA, we have several programs to encourage you to be more mindful of the use of natural resources, saving energy, conserving water and the like. Have you heard about EPA’s Energy Star program? Have you heard of our WaterSense Program that helps you to reduce your water use through water efficient products? And how about the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

By going green today, we can all work to have a more sustainable tomorrow. Have you taken a green action today? As always, we would love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Send Your Showers to Boot Camp

By Christina Catanese

Saving water doesn’t have to be blood, sweat and tears.  Lately, I’ve been trying something called a Navy shower, an easy and effective way to cut down water use from showering.  Here’s how it works:

Turn on water.  Get in shower.  Get wet.Showerhead
Turn off water.  Soap and lather.
Turn on water.  Rinse off.
Turn off water.  Done!

Basically, it’s as simple as only running the water when you need to rinse, and having it off for the parts when you aren’t.

With a Navy shower, you can have the water running in your shower for as little as two minutes!  Depending on your showerhead’s flow rate, that can be as low as 3 gallons, compared with 150 for a 10 minute shower.  Since showering is one of the leading ways we use water at home, practicing Navy showers will help your water use (and bill) beat a hasty retreat.  And the bathroom at your house might even seem a little less crowed during the morning rush.

If you have water conservation in your sights, try this out: First, test your fixtures and see how much water you’re using with every minute of your shower. Then, test yourself: Time your normal showers to get a baseline, then see how much time and water you can shave off.

And once you’ve challenged yourself to close the ranks on your shower’s length, you can also change your fixtures to low flow showerheads.

You don’t have to be in the Navy to have military discipline about your showers.  And practicing Navy showers most of the time will make you feel better about taking the occasional long, luxurious shower!

As the old saying (sort of) goes, never leave a gallon behind.  How are you taking your water use to boot camp?  Would you try a Navy shower?

About the Author: Christina Catanese has worked at EPA since 2010, in the Water Protection Division’s Office of Program Support. Originally from Pittsburgh, Christina has lived in Philadelphia since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Hydrogeology. When not in the office, Christina enjoys performing, choreographing and teaching modern dance.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Around the Water Cooler: Water Sustainability from Across the Globe

By Sarah Blau

Watersense graphic

Something caught my eye in the ladies’ room of an out-of-the-way restaurant in a small North Carolina town where I spent my July 4th weekend. Pictured in the upper right corner of the ceramic toilet tank was a little blue and green water droplet and the words WaterSense, which I recognized immediately.

WaterSense is EPA’s partnership program designed to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products – products bearing the token blue and green label. Despite being familiar with the program, I was still surprised to discover that small symbol of water conservation in such a rural area. I realized that water conservation (as well as many other water resource sustainability issues) is not limited to one city, to one state, or even to one country. Water resource protection is a global issue, affecting everyone, everywhere.

In fact, I recently learned that Singapore’s National Water Agency, PUB, has a water conservation plan with goals very similar to EPA’s WaterSense. According to PUB’s website, their conservation plan “encourages customers to use water wisely,” and as a result, “Singapore’s per capita domestic water consumption has been brought down from 165 litres per day in 2003 to the current 152 litres.”

David Adelman, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore (left), and Chew Men Leong, Chief Executive, PUB (right). Choi Shing Kwok (center), Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources served as official witness.

David Adelman, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore (left), and Chew Men Leong, Chief Executive, PUB (right). Choi Shing Kwok (center), Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources served as official witness.

In recognition of the global prevalence of water resource issues and the commonality in water resource goals between the U.S. and Singapore, last month EPA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PUB. Signed by the Chief Executive of PUB, Chew Men Leong, and the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, David Adelman, the MOU paves the way for international collaboration to advance scientific and technical knowledge on pressing water issues.

EPA and PUB are both working toward similar goals for sustainable water management such as providing safe water for the population, promoting industry water clusters (similar to the EPA-supported Confluence), and providing innovative water solutions, jobs, and economic growth. “This partnership will promote safer drinking water and better water resource management,” said Ambassador Adelman. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Likewise, I’m excited to hear about this partnership. What better way to confront global water resource concerns than with international collaboration? From the smallest backwoods homestead to the busiest urban business, in this country and across the globe, we share similar water sustainability concerns. So, the wider-spread the research team addressing these issues, the better off we, and our waters, will be.

About the Author: Sarah Blau is a student services contractor working on the Science Communications Team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Don’t Let a Leak Break the Bank!

 

By Lina Younes

Recently, when my family and I came back from vacation, we noticed that one of our toilets was leaking. It wasn’t leaking outside the bowl itself. Luckily we didn’t have any water damage. It just hadn’t stopped flushing. The water was running inside the bowl. I thought that was odd. I fixed it and was hoping that it hadn’t been running continuously while we had been away. After the event, I didn’t think more about it and settled back into the daily routine.

Well, I just received the water bill. Guess what? The water bill was DOUBLE what it normally is and we had not even been home for nearly two and a half weeks. Yikes! So, even though we have WaterSense toilets in our home, that leak prevented that toilet from performing efficiently. We learned our lesson. A leaky toilet can do a lot of damage to your home AND your wallet. Did you know that easy-to-fix household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually in the United States alone? That is basically the equivalent of the amount of water used by more than 11 million homes across this country in one year.

Given that water is such a precious resource, what are some simple things that you can do in the home to save water?

  • Well, first of all, fix water leaks in your home. As I learned the hard way, there is no leak too small. Repairing leaks in your bathroom, kitchen and overall plumbing fixtures will reduce water use and help you save money.
  • Turn the tap off while shaving or brushing your teeth. That is the easiest one to implement immediately, plus it’s a good habit to teach your children at an early age.
  • Take short showers instead of long baths.
  • When using the washing machine or the dishwater, make sure you have a full load.
  • When watering your garden, make sure to do it early in the morning.
  • Install water efficient plumbing fixtures with the WaterSense Label.

Do you have any other water savings tips you would like to share? I’ll leave you with a useful WaterSense tool,  which will help you calculate your water savings. I hope it helps you to go green.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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