Utility customers can trim their energy bills by trimming water use
BEND, Ore — June 21, 2011 — During the summer months, saving water is often top of mind as sprinklers turn on around the state and water resources shrink. However, using less water at home also helps in another way: it can save money on the monthly energy bill.
Water heating is one of the biggest energy expenses in the home, and wasting hot water also wastes energy. The biggest culprit is the daily shower, which can waste up to 2,300 gallons of water a year in an average household, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
To help Oregon utility customers save money from going down the drain, Energy Trust of Oregon is working with Bonneville Power Administration and retailers around the state to offer reduced prices on a variety of WaterSense® labeled showerheads available in different styles and finishes.
Showerheads with the WaterSense label are certified to be 20 percent more water-efficient and perform as well as or better than conventional models. Changing just one showerhead to a WaterSense model can save up to $44 a year in energy and water costs.
“Installing a more efficient showerhead is an easy change to make and you don’t have to sacrifice performance or design,” said Marshall Johnson, residential sector manager, Energy Trust. “Most people that make the switch will only notice a difference on their energy bills.”
Discounted WaterSense labeled showerheads are available throughout Oregon at Costco, Ferguson Enterprises, Fred Meyer, George Morlan, Goodwill, Grover Electric and Plumbing Supply, Lowes, ReBuilding Center, St. Vincent De Paul and Walmart. The discount is $7 per WaterSense labeled showerhead and the average price ranges from $14 to $16. The discount is automatically taken at the register — no coupon is required — and is valid through December 31, 2011.
Energy Trust recommends replacing any showerhead that uses more than 2 gallons per minute of water. Showerheads from before 1992 can use more than twice that amount, up to 5.5 gallons per minute, while WaterSense labeled showerheads can use as little as 1.5 gallons.
A simple test can also help determine if a showerhead should be replaced:
– Place a bucket, marked in gallon increments, under the showerhead.
– Turn the shower on at normal water pressure.
– Time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the 1-gallon mark.
– If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach the 1-gallon mark, a water-saving showerhead would be beneficial.
More water-saving ideas:
1. Fix leaks
To quickly reduce hot water use, try repairing leaks in faucets, showerheads and pipes. A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month.
2. Install faucet aerators
Faucet aerators that screw on to the tip of the faucet are inexpensive to replace and a cost-effective way to save hot water. Look for aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1 gallon per minute.
3. Use the dishwasher
Washing dishes by hand several times a day can be more expensive than operating an energy-efficient dishwasher. When using the dishwasher, be sure to opt for water-saver washing and energy-saver drying options to save even more.
4. Wash clothes in cold water
Clothes washers don’t require a minimum temperature for optimum cleaning. To help lower energy costs, use cold water for most laundry and run full loads.
5. Purchase an ENERGY STAR® clothes washer and dishwasher
ENERGY STAR dishwashers and clothes washers are designed to use less energy and water than conventional machines while delivering superior cleaning performance. Energy Trust offers cash incentives for select models. To learn more visit www.energytrust.org/appliances.
6. Lower water heater temperature
Set the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees (or to 140 degrees if your dishwasher does not pre-heat water) to save on water heating costs overall.
To find more ways to save energy at home and learn how Energy Trust can help, visit www.energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.