Over the past 10 years, more homeowners have chosen to “go green.” While some people make only slight changes in support of a healthier environment, others go all out.
In addition to green living being a more environmentally friendly approach to life, there are other advantages. In the long run, green living is often more cost efficient, but it saves valuable resources as well. Along with having a home that runs on solar or wind power, organic gardening, and electric cars, another excellent method of going green involves plumbing.
The changes associated with green plumbing help cut down the cost of energy, are easier on the environment, and help improve the home as a whole from a health-related perspective. Because green plumbing is becoming more popular, there are many qualified plumbers able to assist you, although many things can be done as do-it-yourself projects.
The Cost of Green Plumbing
While some changes to plumbing are inexpensive, others are a major investment. For larger projects, there is an initial expense for green plumbing, but costs are recouped over time since less energy and water are used. Therefore, if you are interested in going green, you need to look at this change as an investment guaranteed to pay off over time.
Understanding the Real Value
As mentioned, green plumbing will reduce the cost of electricity, gas, and water, but there are other values. For one thing, water is much cleaner. Because of this, people in the home have safer water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and showering. In addition, green plumbing is an excellent way to conserve water resources, which is ultimately better for the planet and future generations.
The following are ways you can enjoy green plumbing.
- Insulation – Pipes should always be insulated, especially those located on exterior walls. These pipes experience the most heat loss as water passes through from the water heater to the sink or tub. By adding insulation, pipes are protected so there is no energy loss associated with hot water, especially during cold winter months.
- Exterior Wall Pipes – Whenever possible, pipes should run through what are referred to as conditioned spaces as opposed to exterior walls. Again, this will reduce heat loss. Although this might not be an option for everyone, when building or remodeling, piping can usually be installed or moved to a more efficient location.
- Tankless Water Tank – Another excellent way to go green is by investing in a tankless water tank. Measuring no more than 28 inches tall, these units can be installed easily, supply hot water as needed, and save on both energy use and cost.
- On-Demand Circulation Pump – This type of pump is designed to send hot water to fixtures within seconds. This saves money, because hot water does not sit idle in pipes and water at the faucet does not have to run for several minutes before turning hot.
- Water Supply – It would also be beneficial to request a copy of the water quality report from the water company or have home water tested by a plumber or contractor. This will indicate any known risk factors that can then be addressed for a healthier home and safer environment.
- Chlorine Filters – Something as simple as installing a chlorine filter on a showerhead is a step in the right direction for living green. Compared to going through the digestive system, chlorine absorbs through skin six times faster; for water with high chlorine content, a filter is essential.
- Water Filtration System – Another investment is a whole-house water infiltration system, which eliminates any microorganisms, particulates, and harmful chemicals found in water.
- Reverse Osmosis Systems – For a home with extremely poor water quality, a more cost-efficient alternative to changing out pipes consists of having a Reverse Osmosis System or activated carbon filter installed. Typically, Reverse Osmosis Systems are installed at each sink so water for drinking, brushing teeth, and cooking is purified, while activated carbon filters are installed on showerheads and faucets.
- Low-Flow Toilets, Showers, and Faucets – While still banned in certain states, these toilets, showers, and faucets help reduce the amount of water used, in some cases as much as 60 percent. By using less water, the monthly utility bill goes down and not as much water is wasted.
Green plumbing is a cost-efficient and energy-saving solution. However, one of the main reasons for making changes has to do with supporting a healthier environment. Sadly, poor water quality affects plants and wildlife, while wasted water could serve purposes that are more important. With an increase in the number of people going green, the planet becomes a safer and healthier place to live. Because so much of green living emphasizes water conservation, focusing on plumbing is a great way to get started.