Plumbing systems are an expensive, complex part of any home design. Whether your building a new home, or redesigning an old one, careful planning with green plumbing designs in mind can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the coming years.
In every home, there are two parts to every plumbing system – water supply and sewage or waste. With both systems, water savings and energy savings can be build into the plan, saving thousands of gallons of water, and using less electricity for pumping and delivery .
Start with the output
The easiest way to green up your home design is to start with efficient appliances. If you’ve ever looked at the major home appliances – washers, dryers, dishwashers – most come with energy efficiency ratings. Don’t stop with the basic home appliances. Today’s water heaters have also been made with energy efficiency in mind, and with items like hot water recirculation system, you can easily reduce the water you use every single day. Also put in energy efficient faucets and fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen to further conserve water.
Work with the layout
Especially in today’s larger homes, having water move from a basement water heater to an upstairs bathroom can take several minutes or more for hot water. Those several minutes wasted day after day can quickly add up to thousands of gallons of water over the course of a year. A green plumber can make several recommendations, including multiple water heaters, or adding the hot water circulation system directly to the existing water heater to prevent waste.
As we continue to find ways to conserve water, one area that will continue to improve is the way we dispose of waste. It’s easy to dump everything into the drain and send it out into the system, forgetting about conserving where you can. And in many areas there are laws in place to prevent separating different types of waste for reuse. But you can talk with your green plumber to learn more about gray water and black water, the differences, and what you can do with both.
Black water is waste water from toilets, and because of the obvious risks, must be handled in strict compliance with plumbing codes. Gray water is the water used in everyday activities such as washing our clothes or brushing our teeth. Because it doesn’t pose the same health risks as black water, in can be used for irrigation purposes. Again, talk with your plumber about your options. And if you can’t use gray water in your area now, keep in mind that it may become possible in the near future as we continue to explore more ways of conserving water.