Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


Ways to save water around your home.
March 9, 2009, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Sustainability | Tags: , , ,

Canadians waste a lot of water. Each person here uses on average 329 litres of water per day, more than twice as much as the average person living in France and significantly more than those in less developed nations. Canada has an abundance of freshwater, with 7% of the world’s supply of total renewable water flow and 25% of the world’s supply of wetlands. It has the largest per capita supply of freshwater amongst industrialized nations. Despite this supply, many Canadian municipalities have reported water shortages because of socio-demographic pressures. 85% of the population lives within 300km of the American border, yet 60% of the water flows towards the less populated north. Our current water usage is not sustainable, and is taking incredible amounts of taxpayer money to clean and purify at over $4.5 billion per year. We need to find ways to cut our water wastes.

Canadians spend approximately 35% of their water usage showering and bathing and about 30% flushing toilets. A typical low flow shower head uses about 10 litres of water per minute (10 minute shower=100 litres).  A typical basic bathrub will hold around 150 litres of water, soaker or larger tubs much more (up to 500 litres or more). Building codes have required 6 litre/flush toilets since 1996, but older toilets can use as much as 20 litres per flush and the average person flushes 7 times a day.

These amounts can be reduced with simple measures, like switching to low-flow toilets and shower heads and fixing leaks as soon as they happen. One drop per second from a leaky tap wastes about 10,000 litres of water per year. Shortening shower time can also drastically reduce water usage.

Using a grey-water system in the home, a more expensive solution, can reduce home water usage by 35-40% annually. This system recycles water that has been used in your shower or kitchens and uses it for toilet flushing and irrigation purposes. Basically, it allows you to reuse the water from your shower in your toilet, drastically saving your water usage. Check out http://www.ecoshift.ca/, a Cambridge company for more details or to have your home assessed for waste reduction.

Canadians water their lawns on average 1.5 times a week in the summer months, often using hose water coming from their municipality. This water could come from the sky, by using rain barrels or rain water tanks to collect and store rainwater. Many designs are available and can suit most outdoor household needs.

Dishwashers use approximately 57 litres of water per load, EnergyStar appliances typically use much less water and energy. Only run the dishwasher when full to save water. Clothes washers use on average 150 litres of water per load, with EnergyStar or front loading appliances using significantly less water and energy.

When renovating your home or upgrading appliances, consider switching to EnergyStar or low flow options. How much do you spend on your water bill? How much can changing your daily living affect this? Small changes can make drastic differences. If you need advice on where to start, just ask me!