Although Diamond Tail is located on an aquifer that experts have reported has plenty of water for the next 100 years, New Mexico, as with many states right now, is encouraging, and sometimes requiring, water conservation measures. Designing your custom home with low-flow plumbing fixtures and ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances is an easy, low-cost way to lower your water and energy usage. It is also responsible stewardship of the land.
The term “low-flow” refers to fixtures that use a lesser amount of water to accomplish everyday activities, such as showering, washing your hands, or flushing the toilet. In some cases, low-flow fixtures can reduce water usage by as much as 60 percent over standard fixtures. The good news is that low-flow technology has significantly improved over the years and now delivers an excellent experience.
Low-Flow Showerheads: Low-flow showerheads have a flow rate of less than 2.5 GPM (Gallon Per Minute) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Older showerheads have a flow rate of 5.5 GPM resulting in a much higher usage of water.
The two basic types of low-flow showerheads are Laminar-flow and Aerating-flow:
The Laminar-flow showerhead will form streams of water and will provide more accurate temperature control.
The Aerating low-flow showerhead will mix water with air, forming a misty type of water-spray. It will create a great amount of steam and moisture, and are not recommended in humid climates.
Low-Flow Toilets: Low-flow / low-flush toilets and ultra-low-flow toilets have been designed to use half the amount of water used by traditional toilets. Low-flow toilets are averaging 1.1 to 1.6 GPF (Gallons Per Flush) instead of 3.5 GPF, and can save more than 20,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four. When first introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the design of low-flow toilets was under fire due to the claim that some models could not flush the toilet in an efficient way. Later technology alleviated this issue.
A majority of toilets are now designed with a half-flush option for liquid waste and a full-flush option for solid waste disposal. Many low-flow toilets are also designed to reduce clog problems because their drainage passage is wider.
Gravity Flush Toilet
Gravity Flush Toilets work just like traditional toilets. These toilets have a water tank set higher than the bowl and use gravity and water to flush waste passively.
A pressure-assisted toilet uses a secondary tank, located in its main toilet tank to create additional air pressure to aid toilet flushing while maintaining more water in the toilet bowl. The toilet is exceptionally stronger than traditional, gravity flow models and flushes more waste using less water. These toilets use 1.1 to 1.4 gallons per flush.
High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) consume 20% less water than most low-flow toilets, about 1.28 GPF. Often called Dual-Flush Toilets, these models feature two buttons, one for flushing liquids and another for flushing solids. A liquid-only flush uses just .8 gallons of water!
Faucets: The bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room faucets also contribute to significant water consumption at an incredible 2.5 or higher GPM. Installing an on/off light sensor for quick response, or turning the water off while brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes does a great deal to conserve water. Installing low-flow faucets and aerators is even smarter as it can reduce water flow to 1.5 GPM.
RAIN WATER HARVESTING
Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rain for reuse rather than letting the water run off and absorb into the ground, channeling into drains, streams, or rivers. It is one of the easiest ways to conserve water at home as it can be used to water your landscape and your garden.
New Mexico does not get a lot of precipitation, so having a basic system to collect rainwater from a roof via downspouts and a barrel or tank is ideal for watering plants or other outdoor chores. These systems don’t require much more maintenance than typical gutter-cleaning upkeep.
The blue “ENERGY STAR®” square, planted on various products – from LED light bulbs and personal computers to home refrigerators and sound systems – is a certification label created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to guarantee significant energy savings.
Thanks to the high demand of ENERGY STAR products over the past few years, manufacturers have developed more certified appliances than non-certified. This means production costs have decreased so much that ENERGY STAR products no longer cost more than their counterparts, and, in some cases, cost even less.
Washing Machines: Make sure to buy a washing machine with the ENERGY STAR label. These washing machines are a significant energy and water conserving consideration as they use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than other types of washing machines.
Refrigerators: ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators offer high performance features such as high-efficiency compressors that create less heat and use less energy, improved insulation that helps food stay cold, and temperature and defrost mechanisms that help the refrigerator operate more efficiently.
Dishwashers: A standard-sized ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and can save you an average 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime. Dishwasher technology has improved dramatically over the last decade and new ENERGY STAR certified models include several innovations like soil sensors, improved water filtration, more efficient jets, and dish rack designs that reduce energy and water consumption and improve performance.
If you’d like to design a sustainable and eco-friendly home while also seeing significant savings on your water and electricity bill, then low-flow plumbing fixtures and ENERGY STAR rated appliances with low-flow features are a must!