What uses the most water in your home?

The average person uses 80-100 gallons of water a day. But where is all that water used?

  1. Toilet – 27%
  2. Laundry – 22%
  3. Shower – 17%
  4. Faucet – 16%
  5. Leaks – 14%

 

image: EPA

 

Water stats:

  • Showers – 2 gallons/minute – bathtub holds 36 gallons.
  • Kitchen faucets – 2 gallons/minute.
  • Bathroom faucet – 1 gallon/minute.
  • Dishwasher – 4-10 gallons.
  • Laundry – newer uses 25 gallons/load – older 40 gallons/load.
  • Toilet flush – 3 gallons
  • Water the lawn – 5-10 gallons/minute

Become a water warrior – 9 recommendations for water conservation

It’s hard to commit to using less water because it involves everything fine and delicate: cleaning our bodies, our food, and our clothes. We have a level of comfort with cleanliness and nobody wants to be smelly. The United States is particularly obsessed with this (“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”). We use nearly as much water as China and they have four times the population.

And water conservation is a worthwhile cause, from the EPA:

In the last five years, nearly every region of the country has experienced water shortages. At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013, even under non-drought conditions.

We are in a drought.

Keep that in mind with these water conservation tips. Approach them with caution, do a little at a time, and find your comfort level. At times you may go too far and that is okay. Often I go too long without showering and am reminded, it’s time.

Water use in the home covers four areas: kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and outdoors. Which I break down into two categories – turn-off the running water and change your habits. The first is such a common sense idea, but we frequently keep the water running without doing anything. When you brush your teeth for 2 minutes and use the running water for 5 seconds. Or, when you pause in the shower to lather and ignore the gushing stream behind you.

I daresay these are easy changes:

  • Brushing teeth – brush, floss, and don’t turn on the water until you rinse your toothbrush and mouth. Use a cup to save even more water.
  • Cleaning dishes – Use running water after you scrubbed your dishes. A moist sponge can get you 90% clean. Make sure to place other dishes to collect the run-off.
  • Washing hands – turn off the water while you soap your hands.
  • Lathering in the shower – turn off the water for a few minutes while you lather, turn on to rinse off.

I know these are simple and common sense, but they are also habits. Repeated practice can save bucketfuls of water. Remember, the average American uses 100 gallons of water/day!

The second recommendation is for the water warriors. These require true determination, involving a substantial change:

  • Shorter showers – Five minutes is the goal, but four minutes will make you a legend.
  • Wash your clothes half as much – many clothing items, like jeans, can go weeks without washing.
  • No more dishwasher – some say that a full dishwasher is more efficient than hand washing, but the average dishwasher uses 4-10 gallons of water. Can you use less?
  • Watering the lawn – water less and less until you notice the grass slightly brown. That is the ideal amount to use.
  • Recycle gray water – Keep a pitcher next to the sink for recycling gray water. This is water free of soap and chemicals but containing food bits and such. Give it to your plants because they don’t mind a little dirt.

I have tested these recommendations and found them very livable. It took a few weeks to learn each habit, but now I’m proud of my water use. I think I’m becoming a water warrior!

Maybe I’m ready for the big challenges.

 

Continue reading Become a water warrior – 9 recommendations for water conservation

A different kind gold rush – scientists pay for meteorites, $1,000 a gram

In the Gold Rush town of Rescue, Brenda Salveson, a wife and mother of two, read a local news article about the meteorites. The area scattered with them, about three miles wide and 10 miles long, included Henningsen Lotus Park, where she walks her dog every morning. She noted what to look for: a rock that seemed out of place — different from anything around it. It would be dark and delicate.

On Wednesday, near the end of her stroll with Sheldon her dog, Salveson picked up a rock the size of a spool of thread that seemed to match the description.

She walked over to a group with metal detectors.

“I opened my hand and they all let out a collective gasp,” she said.

The geologists, as they turned out to be, wrapped the 17-gram stone in foil and told Salveson to get it into a bank vault.

A few minutes before, a firefighter had stopped to search at the park on his way to work and found a 2-gram meteorite in less than 20 minutes. A dealer paid him $2,000 on the spot.

Meteorite hunters strike pay dirt

 

// Photo – Navicore

Watch 15+ meteors/hour this Saturday during the Lyrid meteor shower

The peak of the Lyrid meteor shower will be viewable all over the world this Saturday night. With the best rates seen just before dawn. The Lyrids can offer a shower of activity, with peak meteor rates between 10-100 per hour. This year Dr. Cooke estimates that the rate will be around 15 per hour, though he is hoping for a surprise increase above this!

The Lyrids are pieces of debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have been observed for more than 2,600 years. In mid-April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris from the comet, which causes the Lyrid meteor shower.

Also, NASA plans to have an expert chat during the event, where you can ask questions to meteor experts and view live feeds:

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an early spring weekend, make plans to stay “up all night” with NASA experts to watch the Lyrids brighten the skies. On Saturday, April 21, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. EDT, meteor experts Dr. Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the Lyrids via a live Web chat.

Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page a few minutes before 11 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 21. The chat module will appear at the bottom of this page. After you log in, wait for the chat module to be activated, then ask your questions!

A live video feed of the Lyrid meteor shower will be embedded on the page on the night of the Web chat, and there will be alternate allsky views being streamed from the allsky camera network.

learn more – NASA

 

// Thx to Chris Kim A

5 energy saving tips, what are yours?

Yesterday, Google released it’s electricity usage and the numbers are fantastical.

The company uses 260 million watts which is the output of 1/4 of a nuclear power plant.

For each google search we use 0.3 watt-hours of electricity. I’m not sure how much that is but I do like the idea of server firing up when I type in “chad ocho cinco”.

This got me thinking about my last posts discussing how electricity is the main cause of global warming, the follow-up about my local power plant, and the popular solar parking lots.

Electricity is the problem of the decade and any bit of savings we can get are huge. A little research shows that retail prices are shooting up, over 41% since 2000 (3.5%/year), and expected to go even higher.

This website gives electricity prices for each state and here are the winners:

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Highest average price, 2010

  • Hawaii (25.12¢ per kWh)
  • Connecticut (17.39¢)
  • New York (16.31¢)

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Lowest average price, 2010

  • Kentucky (6.75¢)
  • Idaho (6.54¢)
  • Wyoming (6.20¢)

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I hope you live in the one of the cheap states!

 

Without further ado, here are my 5 favorite energy saving tips.

1. Hang-dry clothes like it’s Little House on the Prairie. There ain’t no shame in letting your undies fly in the wind.

2. Shower quicker or turn off the water during the lather phase. It feels weird at first but you get used to it. Remember, every time you touch warm water you are paying to heat it up. Do you use warm water in the hot summer to wash dishes or your hands?

3. LED bulbs require some new knowledge. If you shop for one here is what the package will say, “6 Watt LED Replacement for a 50 Watt Incandescent.” That’s a near 90% reduction in lighting costs if you switch to LED but it’s not yet cheap with bulbs going from $12-30.

4. Fresh Air…my mom raised me on the stuff. Always opening the windows for me to make sure I didn’t get stuffy. Now I need it all the time and that means no A/C for me. I would rather sweat than breath recycled air. Huge energy saver for me.

5. Solar charger for phone. Life is better off the grid and to get started I purchased a solar doohickey. I haven’t plugged in my phone or iPad since. Tip: When buying solar, know that solar panels only produce energy, which means you need a battery pack to store the energy, otherwise you have to plug your phone in when the sun is shining.

 What Are Your Tips?