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Published on December 19th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans

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Plumbing Products that Preserve Water, Energy, and Funds

We all like to save money.  If we can save money while benefiting the environment, then all the better!  Plumbing is an area where you can reap huge savings by paying a bit more up front for water and energy efficient appliances and fixtures.

Your fixtures may be serving you well at the moment, but if you’re in need of a replacement, look into these efficient alternatives for everything from water heaters to faucet washers.

Water Saving, Energy Efficient Plumbing Products

Products with an Energy Star or EPA Water Sense sticker are always the better choice, but there are more advanced options you can go with as well.  Here are some ecologically-sound alternatives to look for:

Toilets

Composting — waterless (or very little water depending on model), no septic or sewage system necessary, decomposes solid waste into fertilizer, and now many odorless models exist, such as those made by Sun-Mar.  And here’s all you could ever wish to  know at envirolet’s Composting Toilet World.

Low-flow, dual flush — uses considerably less water.  Dual flush allows you to choose how much water is used (varies depending on the type of waste).

Waterless urinals —  hands free and odor free!  Here’s How they work.

Sink and Shower

Low-flow aerators — screws right on to your faucet head and reduce water flow while maintaining pressure.

Low-flow showerheads — many options exist: look for flow control technology that actually increases water pressure, and those with non-aerating spray, which save energy as the water takes less time to heat up.

Sensor operated faucets — touch-free and water conserving.

Water Heaters

Tankless or instantaneous — provides hot water when you want it, eliminating the energy wasted by keeping water heated in a tank.  Can be used in addition to a solar heating system.

Solar — sunshine is free!  Check out the different types of systems.

Point-of-use — smaller heaters installed where you want hot water.  Energy efficient and cost-saving.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a handy page for cost-comparison of different water heater systems.

Other

Hot water re-circulating pump — another way of eliminating energy and wait-time for water to heat.

Smart irrigation system — dramatically saves water by adjusting itself according to factors such as weather and will water only when plants need it.

Rain sensors — shuts off the normal irrigation system when it detects enough rainwater has fallen to provide adequate watering.

Resources and Developments

Here are some great websites featuring energy efficient appliances and fixtures:

In recent years, Japan has taken bathroom technology to the next level.  Forget just saving water, how about an impromptu medical check-up the next time you use the toilet?

And no need to run more water to reheat the bath—these insulating tubs keep water warm without wasting energy. The materials used are toted as eco-friendly, though there is some controversy concerning the use of polystyrene foam.





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