Living

Green for life: How to save water

Columnist Gillian Deacon shows you how to cut the waste out of your morning showers, while keeping the pleasure intact

The alarm clock, a cup of coffee and a hot shower – it’s the holy trinity of morning routines. But that daily wash takes its toll on the earth and on our budgets. Heating water takes up 22 percent of this country’s household energy consumption. As energy prices continue to soar, it makes good sense to figure out how to cut back on hot water. Now, no one’s suggesting you give up personal hygiene altogether (talk about unsustainable!), but there are lots of ways to be smart about how you clean up.

Go with low flow

If you can fill a two-litre jug from your shower in less than 10 seconds, it’s time for a new shower head. But, through the wonders of modern science, you can use less water and have it feel like more: Some low-flow shower heads mix air with the water in the delivery nozzle, releasing it in a range of snazzy pressurized massage features. Making the switch to a low-flow head is the smoothest transition to water savings, and you can save 15 percent of the cost of heating your water.

Invest in heat-recovery pipes

If you think of the heat in your hot water as money, you can practically see those hard-earned nickels and dimes flowing down the drain in your waste water. Why not make the most of the money you’ve spent on water heating? The Power-Pipe, designed and manufactured in Canada ( renewability.com), is a grey-water-heat-recovery system – a copper pipe that transfers the heat from your draining hot water into your hot-water tank to heat the water for your next shower.

Cut down on shower time

Do you know how long you actually spend under the shower each day? Anything more than five minutes is gluttony, I’m afraid. If you’re accustomed to long, leisurely, energy-guzzling showers, ease yourself out of them. Set an egg timer for one minute less each week until your routine is speedy and efficient. According to The Green Book , Jennifer Aniston takes three-minute showers. I figure if she can wash one of the world’s most famous hairdos in three minutes, the rest of us can do it in five.

Three ways to conserve in the shower:

1. Use bar soap, not pump, to avoid packaging waste.

2. Millions of disposable razors go into landfills every year. Find ones with replaceable blades and handles made from recycled yogourt containers at Recycline.com.

3. Learn the time-honoured method of showering like a sailor (that is, turning off the water while lathering up) by watching a sailor shower (purely informational!) on YouTube. (Just search “Navy shower”.) Then pick up a flow adapter at the hardware store. With a flick of the switch, you can turn the water off, then back on, without having to adjust the temperature.

Turn your house into an eco-friendly sanctuary with our Green house tool.