Water use = Electricity use!
The state of California uses 19% of its electricity in handling their water. This means in pumping, moving, treating and watering their homes. There is also diesel and natural gas that is used in handling their water. When I think of energy consumption the use of water is not something that I have ever considered. However, I believe that 19% of the electricity being used in California is reason enough to look at how I use water.
The Alliance to Save Energy created a website called Watergy that addresses the issue of water use and its direct relationship to energy consumption. They believe that we could save as much as 25 percent of our energy consumption in water systems. Considering that 2 to 3 percent of our world energy is used in the pumping, treating and moving of water this could be an incredible savings worldwide. We need to be aware as a community that our water use isn’t just taxing our water supply, but it is also dipping into our other energy sources.
From a homeowner standpoint what can we do where water and energy consumption is concerned? Did you know that our water heaters can be responsible for up to 30 percent of our monthly electricity bill? The water is being heated 24 hours a day, but we only use it for a few hours each day for our showers, dishes, and miscellaneous use. We can reduce our electricity by making sure our pipes are insulated, our water heaters wrapped and lowering the thermostat.
As I looked around for more information on how water systems and energy use are intertwined I found that the Environmental Protection Agency have documented some very important basic information. Such as:
- “The ENERGY STAR program estimates that about $4 billion is spent annually for energy costs to run drinking water and wastewater utilities. If the sector could reduce energy use by just 10% through cost-effective investments in energy efficiency, collectively it would save about $400 million annually.” (http://www.epa.gov/waterinfrastructure/bettermanagement_energy.html#basicone)
- “If one out of every 100 American homes retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kWh of electricity per year and avoid adding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.” (http://www.epa.gov/waterinfrastructure/bettermanagement_energy.html#basicone)
By taking just a little bit of time we can begin to make a difference in our daily lives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created an organization called WaterSense that is a great location to begin looking for what we can do to make a difference. They have created a label for products that are water efficient so we can make smarter choices from the beginning. They also have links to educational materials and an online calculator to figure out what your water usage savings could be if you install a WaterSense labeled faucet(s) or toilet(s). Why not tackle two serious environmental issues at one time. Let’s save our water resource while also saving a bit of electricity!