Consume less sanitary hot water
Heating water requires a lot of energy: you need 1 calorie to heat 1 gram of water by 1°C, which turns out to be extremely harmful for the environment and one's wallet in the long run.
As such, a daily 40 liter shower for a family of four amounts to some 58.44m3 of water that needs to be heated a year, and 262.98 m3 of water in the case of a 180 liter bath.
Considering that one calorie is required to heat 1 gram of water by 1°C, 800 000 calories are consumed in order to heat 40 liters of water from 15°C to 35°C for a shower - 800 Kcal, or the equivalent of 1/3 of an adult's daily intake requirements, or 0.93 Kwh. For a bath, this amounts to 4.18 Kwh...
That is, about 1400 Kwh a year for a family of 4 that takes showers, which means roughly 200 bucks and 6100 Kwh in the case of baths (nearly 900 bucks). The water heating budget is therefore huge. Here are some tips and tricks to reduce your heating budget and the pollution generated by such heating.
1) Choose showers over baths
It's really easy. If you cut down on your weekly habit of two baths to just one, your sanitary hot water consumption decreases from 560 liters/week (150 gallons) to 420 liters (110 gallons), i.e. some 25% savings in heating without very much effort.
2) Reduce the flow of water in the shower
Reduce the flow of water slightly in the shower; showering with the flow at maximum doesn't get you any cleaner. Not only will the flow of water be gentler on your body, thereby enhancing the pleasantness of a shower, but you will also manage to save water easily, without even realizing it.
3) Reduce your shower time
Try to reduce your shower time, even if it is only by 30 seconds or a minute - why not shower for as long as a song to avoid staying too long - so as to reduce the level of hot water consumption.
4) Don't shower 5 times a day.
Even in summer, it is pointless to shower 5 times a day. If you really have to, twice a day would be enough. If you feel too hot, by all means invest in a mist sprayer that will cool down the atmosphere :p
5) Shower in cooler water
Earlier on, I talked about water at 95°F (35°C), but many of us shower at a temperature close to or above 100-105°F (37-40°C). Whenever it is possible, shower in cooler water, or even cold water during summer, or at a temperature of about 90°F (32°C). If the water was originally at 60°F (15°C), showering at 90°F/32°C instead of 95°F/35°C would represent savings about 15%. Besides, you'll realize how pleasant it is; it just takes some getting used to.
6) Set the water heater so that is operates during off-peak hours
It is more economical to heat an electric hot water tank at night, during off-peak electric supplier's hours, than during the day. And contrary to popular belief, it's also more ecological. Indeed, for example, nuclear sources are usually constant over the time, when fossil energy and hydraulic plants are more flexible and can respond to peaks of demands. During the night, the part of nuclear electricity (20% of the global production in USA, but 78% in France), which produce no carbon dioxide, is higher than during the day.
For example, in France, electricity consumption at night is (almost) completely restricted to the consumption of nuclear energy, that is, several a few of grams of co2 per Kwh. While heating water in the day pollutes more than at night, it is even worse in the evenings when the thermal power stations are running at full steam, amounting to levels close to 100g of co2 per Kwh. In USA, during the peak of demand, the lever can close to 700-1000g of co2 per Kwh... Amazing ;(
7) Install a solar water heater
For instance, In France, according to the Ademe (installment on individual solar water heaters) and depending on the model, the price of a solar water heater that is equipped with 3 to 5m2 of sensors and a 200 to 300 liter tank, enabling the supply of sanitary hot water for 3 to 4 people, is currently between $5320 and $8120 including taxes and installation fees; which is very attractive given that installation of the system is only subjected to a 5.5% VAT until December 31, 2010.
A tax deduction for the purchase of solar-powered equipment, in this case a solar water heater, may be subtracted from this price. The total tax credit comes to 50% of net expenses that are invoiced between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2009, within a $11200 limit for a single person and $22400 for a married couple that files and pays taxes together, + $560 per dependent ($700 for the second child, $840 for the third child or thereafter); provided that it concerns your primary residence and whatever your status (owner, tenant, etc.).
If you are the owner of a house that is more than 15 years old, you may also benefit from a subsidy from the ANAH (National Agency for Housing Improvement).
All in all, a solar water heater will cost you between $3000 and $4000, an amount that will pay for itself after 4 to 10 years, depending on the amount of exposure to sun...
NB: In addition to a solar water heater, it is necessary to have a traditional water heater because the solar water heater can only cover 2/3 of your sanitary hot water needs at the very best, owing to slack periods such as winter, cloudy weather, etc., at which times it is less productive.
8) Keep track of your water consumption
Finally, if nothing else does it, place the stopper when taking a shower and look at the amount of water consumed. Imagine the number of pots of water you would have to heat... This will subconsciously get you to keep an eye on your hot water consumption.
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