Are you in the process of building a home? A new home build is an exciting time, with so many possibilities in terms of design, style, and landscaping. But have you considered the excellent position you’re in to incorporate sustainable new home plumbing?
Sustainable plumbing is all the rage at the moment as more people are realising the importance of conserving water and energy via their home’s plumbing. With a new build, you have the opportunity to include sustainable plumbing solutions right from the get-go.
Not only is suitable plumbing great for saving water (and money!), but you’ll be doing your bit to fight climate change as you do everyday tasks such as having a shower or flushing the toilet. Read on to learn more about what sustainable plumbing means, why it’s important, and 8 ways you can make your new home build’s plumbing sustainable.
What is sustainable plumbing?
Sustainable plumbing is the use of environmentally friendly plumbing modifications and products. Sustainable plumbing aims to reduce water consumption. By reducing the amount of water consumption within our homes, less energy is being consumed as less water is pumped out of the grid. This means money both water and energy is saved by adopting sustainable plumbing.
Water itself is also becoming more of a scarce and valuable resource. By 2025, it’s expected that half of the world’s population will feel the impact of water scarcity. The surge in Australian wildfires in recent years is largely due to a sharp drop in water availability, and river flows in the country are expected to drop by a further 10 to 25% within the next ten years.
Sustainable plumbing has the power to reduce our water consumption in the home by around 30%. If we were to all adopt these innovative plumbing solutions, just imagine the impact this could have on the water availability crisis.
8 ways you can introduce sustainable plumbing into your new home build
There are heaps of ways you can bring sustainable plumbing into the design of your new home build. Now, you may be thinking that investing in sustainable plumbing is going to be costly. While it may be true that some measures will cost a little more in the short term, in the long run, you will save money. What’s more, is that you’ll be saving water and joining the sustainable plumbing movement.
So, how can we introduce sustainable plumbing into our homes?
#1 Choosing water-saving toilets
Toilet flushing accounts for one-third of all water used in homes. By opting for dual-flush toilets, you can save around 70% more water when compared to standard toilets. Dual-flush toilets have two flush buttons—one only uses a little bit of water, while the other uses more. Depending on what you’re flushing, you can use the best-suited flush.
#2 Installing efficient showerheads
Water-efficient showerheads can mean you reduce your water use by around 50% when you’re in the shower. Eco showerheads work by limiting the amount of water that comes out of the showerhead.
Some showerheads simply save water by being low-flow. If this doesn’t appeal to you, you may choose showerheads that have very fine water jets so that the flow is still strong but less water is being used. Alternatively, some showerheads aerate the water—this effectively increases the volume of the expelled water without actually consuming more water.
Adding a shower timer is another good idea for helping to reduce wastewater—these usually have a built-in LCD screen that tells you how much water has been consumed during your shower.
#3 Making use of rainwater
Rainwater harvesters are becoming more of a common sight as more and more Australians are reaping the benefits of this valuable resource (rainwater!). Harvesting rainwater is a great economic choice when it comes to your home. Installing a rainwater harvesting system is generally simple since you can just attach the tank to your roof’s guttering system.
It’s also possible to hook up your rainwater harvesting system to your home’s plumbing. While you may not want to use rainwater to feed your kitchen or bathroom sinks, it’s worth noting that filtered and purified rainwater is generally safe to drink. Most homes that incorporate rainwater into their plumbing, use it for things like flushing toilets, washing clothes, and bathing.
The average rainfall in Perth is 790 mm per year. By multiplying this number by the size of your roof in square metres, you can estimate your maximum rainwater harvest yield. Let’s say your roof area is 100 square metres—you’d be able to collect up to 79,000 litres of rainwater. The average Perthian uses 130,000 litres of water a year i.e. 60% of your water use could come from rainwater.
#4 Incorporating touchless taps
In the time that it takes to twist a tap on and position our hands under the stream of water, water has already been wasted down the drain. Brushing our teeth is another activity that tends to waste a lot of water—people often leave the tap on as they brush their teeth, even though they only require running water for a total of a few seconds.
Touchless taps only turn on when our hands, or toothbrush, or dinner plate are under the tap, ready to be washed. Touchless taps are becoming more common in homes as people are realising the water-saving power they wield.
How else can you save water in the home? Read our water-saving tips for summer in Perth.
#5 Using a solar hot water system
Another sustainable plumbing option is a solar hot water system. While you’re likely aware of how solar panels can be used to generate energy, not many are aware of how the heat from the sun can be utilised directly to heat water.
Similarly to solar panels, solar thermal systems are attached to the roof of a property. The solar thermal panels contain pipes of water that are heated by the sun before being directed to a heat-trapping tank to be used whenever you need it. With rising energy costs, solar hot water systems are a hugely cost-effective way of heating water.
#6 Installing a tankless water heater
If you don’t opt for a solar water heating system, a tankless water heater is another energy-saving option. Tankless, or on-demand water heating systems, don’t work by heating and storing large quantities of water in tanks. Instead, the water is heated as it travels through pipes in your home. This means that only the water you use is heated, rather than a large quantity being heated that you may not even use.
#7 Using energy-efficient appliances
Today, there are heaps of options for eco-friendly appliances out there. Shopping for these energy-conscious appliances will help to reduce your carbon footprint as well as reduce the costs of running the appliances.
Keep an eye out for the energy efficient rating label attached to the electrical appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, and air conditioners. This rating tells you how energy efficient the appliance is and includes an estimate of the amount of energy it would use within a year. You may find that these environmentally friendly options are a little bit more expensive when paying up front, but again, they will save you money in the long run.
#8 Looking out for leaks
While it’s likely you would eventually notice a leak inside the home, leaks can often go on undetected for months or even years when they are located outside—either in the garden or around the property’s perimeter.
If you notice your water consumption in your new home build is higher than you would expect, it may be down to a pipe leak. Acoustic surveys can find underground water leaks in pressurised water supply pipes.
If you ever discover a leak in your home, calling a trusted plumber—such as the team at Superior Plumbing—should be your first course of action. In the meantime, there are several things you can do as temporary fixes to reduce the damage done and the water wasted. Learn about 6 temporary fixes for leaky pipes.
Sustainable plumbing is the future. We should all be doing our bit to save water around the home, and sustainable plumbing can help us tremendously on this quest. If you’re in the process of building a new home, you’re in the perfect position to incorporate sustainable plumbing. Not only will it save water and energy, but it will save you money too!
If you have any questions about ways you can make your new home plumbing more eco-friendly, the team at Superior Plumbing is on hand to provide you with some answers. Whether you need professional advice on the best practices for sustainable plumbing or want to hire a reliable plumbing team to help you with installing the best sustainable plumbing solutions in your home, Superior Plumbing is here to help.
Begin your sustainable plumbing journey—have a chat with the team at Superior Plumbing today. And, if you require a drain plumber in Perth, don’t forget that Superior Plumbing are the blocked drains Perth expert with over 15 years of industry experience.