Design Soup | National Energy Awareness Month

Saturday, October 1st – Monday, October 31st, 2011
The month of October has been designated as the time to make smart energy choices that will help support our economy, protect our environment, and help move us towards energy independence.  Simple everyday usage changes at home can make a huge impact on your energy consumption and utility costs.
We all know that turning back the thermostat, replacing old drafty windows, and using fluorescent bulbs can help keep energy costs down, but some of those changes can be spendy to say the least.  A less expensive route as simple as replacing faucets with water saving aerators, water conserving showerheads, and switching out that water guzzling toilet tank to a high efficiency toilet (HET), can save the average homeowner approximately 39,000 gpy (gallons of water a year) and that means saving $$ too.
Choosing the right product is key and it is important to know how to choose.  When talking water consumption, you should know that (gpm) stands for gallons per minute.  Fixtures are classified by how many gpm they allow through.  For example, an average faucet 20+ years ago was rated at 3.0 gpm as compared to today’s aerating faucets that are rated at 1.5 gpm.  To put that in perspective, changing from a 3.0 gpm to 1.5 gpm can save approximately 17,700 gpy (gallons per year).  Also, that same era showerhead consumed 5.0 gpm compared to today’s 1.5 gpm - that’s over 25,000 gpy saved!
Probably one of the most advances in water conservation has been in toilet design.  Toilets are rated by gpf (gallons per flush).  A 20+ year-old tank was rated at 5.0 gpf…yikes!  That is a lot of water for one flush!  But that was then this is now…today we have different flushing options to choose from.  The most common toilet on the market today is a 1.6 gpf (comparing the 1.6 gpf to our antique guzzle commode, there is a savings of over 25,000 gpy). The newest designs on the market consist of toilets with 1.28 gpf and 1.0 gpf.  Although water conserving designs, a few of these lower gpf models may be less effective when it comes to flushing…if you get my drift!  My best advice is to ask me first of course, but if I’m not available, you should always look for the WaterSense label on the packaging.
Just remember that there are many, many, quality manufacturers out there to choose from when it’s time to switch to aerating faucets, water conserving showerheads, and High Efficient Toilets.  And with a little knowledge you will be able to make smart energy choices that will help support our economy, protect our environment, and help move us towards energy independence. 
Together we can make a difference!