Here’s a statistic that made us stop and think: the US consumes nearly $1 million worth of energy every minute, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Because we are in the steam shower business (as the inventors of the first residential steam shower, we are proud to say), we take water usage very seriously. We’ve had to answer the question of whether a steam shower uses more water than a regular shower many, many times (it does not). Aside from water conservation, we wanted to provide information on other ways that homeowners can conserve energy and save money while being “green.”
First – the answer to the question of how much water a steam shower uses versus a regular shower:
In a jetted shower system that features two 2.2 gallon-per-minute (gpm) showerheads along with three 1.1 gpm body sprays, one 20-minute shower session would use up to 160 gallons of water. Showering every other day, one person uses up to 640 gallons of water in a single week.
Contrast this with a steam bath, which requires only two gallons of water for a typical 20-minute session. A week’s worth of steam sessions uses only 14 gallons of water. If you love a long soak in your tub, you might want to limit that to every few days since a 20-minute bath in a traditional whirlpool or soaking tub requires 80 gallons of water.
Here are some tips to help reduce your personal consumption of power:
ENERGY STAR® APPLIANCES
By now most people have seen the ENERGY STAR® label on appliances. ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. The EPA ensures that each product that earns the label is independently certified to deliver the efficiency performance and savings that consumers have come to expect. When shopping for new appliances, it’s still worth making sure that new appliances meet these standards.
If you’re getting a new fridge, think smaller. A lot of food would last longer if it wasn’t placed in the fridge in the first place. Fruit, for example rots much faster in the fridge because the ethylene gas it lets off as it ripens gets trapped in the fridge. Buying a smaller fridge and putting less in it saves you lots of energy and saves your food too!
Believe it or not, it’s more efficient (and uses less water) to run a full dishwasher load than washing the same number of dishes by hand, particularly if you have an Energy Star dishwasher. Compare four gallons by machine versus 24 gallons in the sink!
WATER USAGE AND WATER TEMPERATURE
Wash your clothes in cold water and here’s why: warm water needs to be heated and heat requires energy. Roughly 75 percent of the energy required to do a load of laundry goes into heating the water. Using cold water saves energy, putting less pressure on electricity grids. It can also save you some money.
Low-flow showerheads also help. Since 1992, all new shower heads must have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or lower, so switch out your older one for a newer model if you haven’t already.
Is your faucet leaking…even a little? One drip per second wastes up to five gallons of water a day, or 1,800 gallons a year. Get it fixed right away.
Cover your water heater: An insulation blanket around your water heater will lower running costs as much as 9%. You may also want to upgrade to a tankless water heater which heats only the water you use.
Lower the temperature on your hot water heater from the standard of 140 degrees to 120. This also prolongs the life of your tank by slowing mineral buildup and corrosion.
Keep Your Furnace Filters Clean! Maintaining furnace filters in forced-air systems can save up to 5% of your heating costs.
Install dimmer switches in rooms where you don’t need as much light. This small change will save approximately $37 per year on electricity.
Use smart power strips. It is estimated that 75% of the energy used to power household electronics is consumed when they are switched off, which can cost you up to $200 per year. It’s important to turn everything all the way off! When you’re not using your appliances and electronics, turn them off and unplug them. This includes your computer, TV, DVD player, game systems, even your kitchen appliances, power tools, and more. If you don’t want to yank the cord, use a “smart” power strip that senses when your appliances are off and cuts that “phantom” power energy use.
Turn off the lights! This is Energy Conservation 101. Teach the kids (and even the grownups) to reach for the switch whenever they leave a room.
In the summer, shut the shades to keep your house cooler, reducing cooling costs by 33%.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs, such as Energy Star-rated CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. These use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than standard bulbs. And you’ll knock $30 off your electric bill for each bulb over its lifetime.
We hope you find these helpful, and if you have tips and ideas we’d love to hear them!