Green tip for week #20 — Week of September 14, 2008

Shower less (less time, not less often!)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… even if showering less uses less water and is good for the environment, do we really want to encourage people to skip bathing and possibly smell bad? No, I’m not suggesting anyone should abandon showering altogether, or even that they should skip their normal showering routine; rather; we should just be conscious of the length of time we shower.

Although shower output (in terms of gallons used per minute) varies, consider an “average” shower 10 minutes, for the sake of argument. Then consider an average gallon per minute (gpm) “flow” of 3.3 gpm. That means each “average” shower consumes approximately 3.3 gallons. If you were able to successfully cut that by 1/3 time, that would mean you would cut your water consumption to 22 gallons per shower! If you shower once each day, this 11 gallon savings per day results in saving approximately 4015 gallons of water per year! That’s if you only reduce your shower time by 1/3, let alone 1/2 or more.

Some people may shower less, and some may shower more, so individual results may be different, but the point is that at we encourage you to sweat the small stuff. Think about the daily routines and habits you never consider, and begin to consider their cumulative impact on the environment. Then think about how easy it is to change these patterns to create a healthier environment (and sustainable environment) for your children and future generations.

Another water saving device for showers is a flow restrictor or low-flow showerhead. Available in nearly any hardware store or home products store, these simple devices can help reduce water waste that showers often produce, by reduing the “flow” (i.e., gallons per minute) each shower has. Although this can be noticeable, some of the less drastic flow reducing showerheads can have significant benefit with relatively minimal negative impact (meaning, you can still wash the soap off efficiently).

As we’ve said in previous green ideas and weekly green tips, these are not “save the world with one simple step” ideas. Instead, these are tips and ideas that move from consumption to sustainability, one small step at a time. This week, and for many weeks in the future, consider water usage each time you take a shower, and consider how you can take steps to cut back the waste.

Remember that taking small steps today can lead to substantial benefits to the environment tomorrow!

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