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The region where we live experiences water shortages, so we want to install water-efficient plumbing fixtures when we update our kitchen and bathrooms. Do you have any suggestions?
Water conservation is an important issue in many places. One reason, of course, is a limited water supply; however, many communities are struggling to cope with increasing quantities of waste water and the need to protect the local environment. In both cases, there are a number of things that homeowners can do to help - and save money in the process.
Some manufacturers offer downloadable 3D symbols and finish options on their web sites, as well as in the Google 3D Warehouse. In Home Designer Suite, Architectural Home Designer, and Home Designer Pro you can import these symbols in .obj, .3ds, or .skp, format as well as create custom materials based on their finish samples. To learn more, see the Home Designer Help Database articles in the Related Articles section.
When researching new fixtures, faucets, and appliances to purchase, here are some water-efficiency considerations to bear in mind:
In many homes, more water is used in the bathroom than anywhere else - which means that potentially, there are also many ways to save water in this room.
When they were first introduced, water-efficient toilets gained a reputation for poor performance. Many of today's toilets, though, actually flush more effectively than older high-flow toilets even though they use much less water.
Many municipalities and utility companies offer rebates or credits for upgrading an old, high-flow toilet with a modern low-flow fixture. Additional rebates may also be available for WaterSense certified toilets. For more information, check with your local water or power utility.
Efficient toilets are available with a range of options, and in a range of prices, from many manufacturers. They also come in a wide variety of styles, from traditional to retro to ultra-modern.
While not as common as toilet rebates, rebates for low flow faucets and showerheads, and/or faucet aerators are available in some areas. See, for example, the EPA's rebate finder web page.
The kitchen also presents a number of opportunities for water conservation.
Dishwashers present less of an opportunity to save water than is sometimes assumed. When a full load is run using an energy-saving setting, a modern dishwasher is likely to use less water than a typical person washing and rinsing the equivalent number of dishes by hand; however, if the person takes steps to control how much water is used for washing and rinsing, they can actually use about as much water as a dishwasher.
Garbage disposals are a convenient way to get rid of food scraps; however, they also require water to run and ultimately increase the amount of food matter and water directed to your local sewer system or to your septic tank. To use your garbage disposal less, or to avoid using it altogether, consider using a compost bin to dispose of vegetable scraps.
Laundry accounts for a considerable amount of a typical household's water use. A standard, top loading washer uses about 41 gallons of water per load.
There is a wealth of information online related to water conservation. Here are a few resources:
You can also check with your local water utility, municipality, as well as with local conservation groups for more ways to conserve water in your community.