by Alok Jha
They estimate that installing just a few water-saving measures could save a typical household £225 per year on combined water and energy bills.
In a joint report launched today, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and the Environment Agency examined the carbon impact of domestic water use in the UK. They concluded that heating water would continue to be a major source of carbon emissions from homes in the future unless urgent action was taken to reduce demand and the associated energy losses from inefficient boilers.
Energy use in homes accounts for more than a quarter of the UK's carbon emissions. In a bid to reduce overall emissions by 80% by 2050, the government has announced plans to reduce the footprint of homes by retrofitting existing homes with energy efficiency measures, such as loft and cavity-wall insulation, and wants all new homes built from 2016 to be zero-carbon.
But the energy used to heat water, around 23% of an average home's carbon footprint, will not be tackled by the government's proposals. "If the drive toward zero-carbon homes goes as planned, by the time you get to a really energy-efficient home, the energy required for space heating is going to be quite small, but unless you do something about water use, that's going to dominate and will account for over 70% of carbon emissions," said Magda Styles, water and waste strategy manager at the EST.
But she said very simple methods of water and energy efficiency could take out 5% of the emissions associated with water, equivalent to taking 600,000 cars off the road.
Water-saving technology and sustainibility standards for new homes have helped to reduce wastage but the growing popularity and frequency with which people use power showers means that Britons still use the same amount of water today as they did 10 years ago – around 150 litres per person per day.
"Water is a precious resource and as the government outlined in last week's low carbon transition plan we urgently need to cut carbon emissions to help reduce the impact of future climate change," said Ian Barker, head of water at the Environment Agency.
The EST report suggests taking showers instead of baths, retro-fitting showers and taps with low-flow heads, lagging hot water pipes, washing dishes in a bowl rather than under a running hot tap and installing a water meter. "It's been documented quite well that metering reduces water consumption by up to 15%," she said. "We're not trying to make people endure hardship and do away with hot water. In most cases, it's a simple prevention of waste."
According to the report, changing a 16 litre per minute shower head with a six litre per minute head, and using a 4.5 litre toilet instead of nine litre one, could result in annual savings of 67m3 of water, 371kg CO2 and £225 for an average household.
Getting beyond 30% reductions in CO2 for individual households would be possible, said Styles, by additionally replacing old washing machines and dishwashers with more energy and water-efficient models and more conscious behaviour change that minimised use and heating of water.
This piece originally appeared on www.guardian.co.uk
Yeah its true water heaters are responsible for large carbon foot prints, specially electric heaters or old fashioned boilers. But i came across this story about geo thermal heaters and i found them really eco friendly. They use the heat from the earth to heat the cold water in pipes and this hot pipes are used to warm the house using small electric fan.
"If the drive toward zero-carbon homes goes as planned, by the time you get to a really energy-efficient home, the energy required for space heating is going to be quite small, but unless you do something about water use, that's going to dominate and will account for over 70% of carbon emissions," said Magda Styles, water and waste strategy manager at the EST.
I have to say - zero carbon homes for dummys
A zero carbon home is per definition a house usinf no more energy that it produces, including water!!! Got it?
If you are going to install low flow shower heads you might as well install low flow faucet aerators as well. Typical faucet aerators like shower heads can start at 5 gallons per minute flow rates. Typical low flow starts at 2.2 gallons per minute and goes all the way down to .5 gallons per minute. You can find these at any local hardware store.