Making WaterSense With Home Improvements
The month of October was designated as National Kitchen and Bath month, so this time of year is ideal for citizens to consider upgrading kitchen and bathroom fixtures with more water efficient models.
Whether you’re redoing your kitchen or bathroom yourself, or hiring someone to make these home improvements for you, HCWA officials encourage you to include WaterSense labeled products with your renovations. Wise water use practices are especially helpful now that Henry County is under a Georgia EPD declared Level 1 Drought Response, as of Oct. 18.
WaterSense labeled showerheads, faucets, and toilets are available in a wide variety of styles and price points, with many options to choose from that are ideal for any design and budget, says Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator. Every fixture that earns the WaterSense label has been tested and independently certified for both water efficiency and performance, she says.
By reducing the amount of water needed for a hot shower or shave, WaterSense labeled fixtures can save energy as well. By adding WaterSense labeled products to kitchens and bathrooms, average families could save up to 10,000 gallons of water and 370 kilowatt-hours of electricity, according to EPA data. Those savings would equate to enough water to wash laundry for 11 months and enough energy to power a refrigerator for seven months.
In addition, WaterSense labeled fixtures pay for themselves, while continuing to save money. Remodeling an older bathroom with WaterSense labeled fixtures can save up to $150 annually on your utility bills. The HCWA also invests dollars each year in a Toilet Rebate Program, where qualified customers can receive a credit on their bill for upgrading older, inefficient toilets with new, more efficient WaterSense labeled products.
For families not involved in a kitchen or bath renovation project, there are still a few simple, affordable upgrades to consider, which can save water, energy and money.
First, switching a showerhead to a WaterSense labeled model can save 2,700 gallons of water annually and enough energy to power a home for 11 days. Also, replacing the aerators on faucets with WaterSense labeled models could save 700 gallons of water and enough energy to power a hair dryer every year. Finally, one of the cheapest yet biggest bangs for your buck is to replace old toilet flappers with new ones. This is the most common cause of leaks that can waste 30 gallons of water or more every day!
The HCWA is an EPA WaterSense Promotional Partner involved in a number of events and initiatives that encourage wise water use and water conservation among customers and other target audiences. HCWA WaterSense promotions include advocacy for WaterSense New Homes and Water Smart Landscapes, with insights provided on the HCWA website.
Some additional HCWA means for practicing water conservation include:
* The aforementioned Toilet Rebate Program;
* Fix-A-Leak Week activities in March;
* Residential and Commercial Water Assessments;
* Conservation Rates for customers;
* A Water Loss Department focused on finding and repairing leaks;
* A Water Loss Committee to explore additional ways to decrease water loss;
* A full-time Water Use Compliance Coordinator who patrols the community to look for unauthorized connections, while making sure Contractors are renting hydrant meters as required during construction;
* Large and Small Meter Testing Program to assure meter accuracy;
* Meter Replacement Program to upgrade older meters with better technology, featuring leak alarm notifications;
* SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system to monitor Water Tank Volume and Flows to avoid overflows.
For more information on Wise Water Use and water saving tips, consumers can go to the Water Conservation page on this website (www.hcwa.com).
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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