by Pat Lenius Bath & Kitchen Pro Winter 2008
HOW TO BE GREEN
There are a number of ways to make the bath and kitchen more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. According to the American Water Works Association (www.awwa.org), total tap water use (indoor and outdoor) in a typical single family home is about 101 gallons per capita per day, of which only 3% is used for drinking. Bathroom fixtures, washing machines, dishwashers, outdoor watering another uses consume the remaining 97%. In an average home, plumbing leaks account for about 14% of water consumed, AWWA reports.
A leaky faucet wastes as much as 2,700 gallons in a year, and a leaking toilet tank can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day, says Jane Bennet Clark on www.kiplinger.com.
Clark also suggests:
- Install a low-flow showerhead, which restricts water output to 2.5 gallons per minute or less. Some new fixtures go as low as 1.5 gpm, saving 7,300 gallons and $30 to $100 a year over their 2.5-gpm counterparts.
- Replace faucet aerators to reduce the gallons-per-minute water flow. Aerators come in a range of flow rates, up to 2.2 gpm. A faucet flow rate of 1 gpm is fine for the bathroom, but for the kitchen, a flow rate of at least 2 gpm is needed.
Graywater (wasteater from bathtubs, shower drains, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers) accounts for 60% of the outflow produced in homes, according to the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing. It contains little or no pathogens and 90% less nitrogen than black water (toilet water). Some toilets are equipped with systems that use graywater for flushing.
Kohler Co. says its Ingenium flushing system has a quiet, controlled flush that minimizes noise and splash. Its Power Lite power-assisted toilet uses an electric pump system for a powerful but quieter flush. A dual-flush option, which offers the choice of a 1-gallon flush for liquid waste or 1.4-gallon flush for bulk waste, can save the average household about 5,000 gallons of water per year, according to Kohler.
Australian sanitary ware manufacturer Caroma says the lower volume flush could be used four times more often than the higher volume flush in a typical application. Caroma says its dual-flush toilets can reduce water consumption by as much as 40% vs. todayÕs mandated low-flow toilets.
Moen has announced that by Jan. 1, 2009, it will transition to flow-optomized aerators — designed to use less water without sacrificing performance — on all Moen, ShowHouse and Cleveland Faucet Group bathroom faucets.
The Green Home Guide by the U.S. Green Building Council suggests that a green home use salvaged materials such as kitchen tiles and materials with significant recycled content and be equipped with energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and water heating systems.
Another green idea from the 2007 GreenBuild Expo: flooring products that contain recycled or renewable materials. GreenFloors offers plush carpeting made from recycled plastic food and soda bottles, and recycled nylon and carpet tiles made from old car tires, as well as bamboo, linoleum and cork flooring that come from rapidly renewable sources. EcoDomo LLC offers recycled leather tiles for flooring.
Fore more information on green building, visit www.usgbc.com.