Across Central Oregon, people are striving to be more green. As plumbers, we have a unique opportunity to affect the sustainability of our communities through eco-friendly plumbing and sewage business practices. We believe that our work, if done thoughtfully, can help reduce energy use, save water, reduce carbon emissions, and more. Thankfully, there are a lot of plumbing options that will help save water, cut costs, use less energy and be less harmful to the environment. Read on for some of our recommendations. 

 

Invest in Low Flow Fixtures:

  • Toilets: A great example of water conservation is the introduction of dual flush system toilets. This allows the user to choose how much water is needed to flush, which reduces overall consumption. There are even some options that are engineered towards saving water with every single flush. The new standard Gallons Per Flush (GPF) on toilets is 1.28 GPF. Toilets can range from up to 3 GPF all the way down to 1.5 GPF in homes. Simply switching to 1.28 GPF toilets in larger homes with multiple bathrooms or apartment buildings could save a lot of money on water usage down the road.
  • Showers: Changing up your showerhead can make a big difference in saving water. While the standard Gallon Per Minute is 2.5, there are new products on the market that use 40% less water (around 1.5 Gallons Per Minute) without sacrificing comfort or design.
  • Faucets: Use 30% less water by switching to a more efficient faucet. These fixtures feature modern designs that can complement any room’s style, and will help contribute to a lower water bill.

 

Take a Hard Look at Your Water Heater:

Your water heater can be a prime plumbing concern when it comes to appliances and our eco-footprint. Solar power and gas options can be used to heat water in a much eco-friendlier way.

We have also seen tankless water heaters rise in their popularity, and their energy efficiency makes them well-worth considering. Water heating is the second largest expense on a home’s utility bill, electric tankless water heaters stop excessive energy consumption in its track by getting rid of the tank. Water is heated by thermal optic sensors that activate when water passes through, which heats the water on demand and avoids the ineffective process of having to reheat water. Additionally, no tank means no worries about rust! In fact, electric tankless water heaters often last five to ten years longer than other options.

Hot Water Recirculating Pumps also reduce water loss in a situation where the water heater is not in a central location to all of the fixtures within the home. Adding a Recirc Pump to the Water Heater decreases the wait time it takes to get hot water to the furthest fixture. This can be set up with a schedule timer so that you can prime the system prior to peak hours when you would normally take showers.

 

Efficiency Matters:

Ensuring your plumbing system is energy efficient will help you significantly lower energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. How?

  • Insulate your pipes: Heat can escape through the pipes in your home. Insulating your pipes can prevent heat loss as the hot water travels from the heater to your faucet or shower. In between uses, it also helps to keep the hot water that sits in the pipe when the faucet is off from cooling rapidly. The water will be warmer when you turn the faucet on, and you’ll waste less of it waiting for your water to heat up.
  • Replace pipes with PEX: Most homes today are plumbed with copper or PVC and CPVC pipes. While these materials are perfectly acceptable, the recently introduced PEX plumbing material is much less prone to damage. Replacing existing plumbing with PEX whenever repairs are required will improve the overall efficiency of your plumbing system over time.

Stay Informed:

You might not be able to make sweeping eco-friendly changes right away in your home, but staying informed about your water consumption and environmental footprint is an easy place to start. Here are three next steps you can take without spending a dime:

  • Ask a plumber about eco-friendly options.
  • Record monthly water usage and differences.
  • Check for leaks often.

We would love to help you and discuss ways you can go green with your plumbing system. Severson provides both residential and commercial plumbing service and repair for the entire Central Oregon region including Bend, Redmond, LaPine, Prineville, and Madras.