4 Tips for Energy Efficiency in the Bathroom

How can you be a more efficient user of water? We have 4 tips for energy efficiency in the bathroom that will have you saving water, energy AND money immediately.

4 tips for energy efficiency in the bathroom

The best way to ensure energy efficiency in the bathroom is to reduce the need for water coming into the bathroom. Not only does this save water, but it reduces the amount of energy used to move water around. Think about this: water for your city comes from an aquifer or city water treatment plant, and then needs to make it to your house. To move water around the city and homes, huge amounts of electricity is used. In California, about 22% of the state’s electricity is used to move water. This is a hidden cost of water, and it can make a big difference in our overall electric usage.

Learn more about the hidden costs of water in California from the Natural Resource Defense Council; many of the lessons learned can be extrapolated to other locales.

electricty usage for water

Second, before reducing your water usage, it’s helpful to know how much water you’re actually using. Check the flow rate on your shower heads and faucet aerators by reading the specs on the item itself, or by using a flow rate bag to check. Then, check your bills:

Learn how to read your water bill
Learn how to read your electric bill

Your bathroom water usage can be reduced by almost half by making quick switches with some simple hardware. Some of these have an upfront cost– but like most home energy efficiency measures, they pay for themselves really quickly (how quickly depends exactly on your local rates).

Water Efficient Showerhead
sustainable showers are the sexiest

1. High Efficiency Shower Heads: Most shower heads have 2.5 gallons per minute flow rates, and modern high efficiency shower heads can reduce that amount by half or more. Newer fixtures maintain pressure and don’t sacrifice water flow for efficiency like earlier models did. In fact, it will be hard to tell any difference after you swap them out!

Learn how to test the flow rate of your showers and faucets
Learn how to install high efficiency shower heads
Learn how to install a shower valve flow adapter

Faucet Aerator
a faucet aerator can cut your water usage by half immediately

2. High Efficiency faucets: Just like high efficiency showers, high efficiency faucet aerators are easy to install and can reduce your water usage by at least half immediately. Faucet aerators are one of the cheapest options for reducing the water usage in your home too, making the payback period super fast. Also like high efficiency shower heads, newer models of aerators are designed to keep pressure high while reducing the flow, so you don’t need to sacrifice! Don’t forget to check for leaks for drips in your faucets, which can waste gallons of water a day.

Read more about high efficiency faucet aerators
Learn how to install a high efficiency faucet aerator
How to fix a leak in your sink
Learn how to test the flow rate of your showers and faucets

3. Low Flow toilets: If you have a newer home, chances are your toilet is a dual flush (meaning it has one setting with less water for number one, and more water for number two). If you don’t have a dual-flush toilet, you can install a flush convertor, which allows you to change settings depending on how much water you need per flush. The cheapest option is to install a tank bag, which simply displaces the water used in the tank to reduce the amount of each flush. Don’t use a brick in your toilet tank, as it can damage pipes. And don’t forget to check for leaks for drips in your toilet tank or supply line, which can waste gallons of water a day.

Learn more about installing a tank bag
How to check for a leak in your toilet
Learn more about pros and cons of dual flush toilets

4. Bathroom lighting: Most bathrooms are way too bright because they are over-lit. The brightness of a room can be measured with a light meter, which can tell you how bright the room really is, and then you can compare to national standards of lighting needs. If you have a four or five-bulb vanity above the sink, you can probably unscrew at least two of them and still have a sufficient amount of light by which you can do all your bathroom activities. Swapping out the bulbs in the bathroom for LEDs will cut the usage drastically, and often you can leave some of the lights off with LEDs too.

Learn more about using a light meter to check for brightness
Learn more about delamping

 

image credit: bathroom drawing from Shutterstock; water energy chart from KQED


About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram

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