Last Updated Jan 20, 2017 · Written by Kat Tate
Green plumbing simply means sustainable. It’s a way of reducing the energy impact of your property’s plumbing – and perhaps saving a few dollars in the process.
But what exactly is green plumbing? What are some sustainable plumbing solutions you can use in your home? And how are they installed? Here we have the lowdown, facts, stats and practical info about green plumbing.
When we talk about sustainable plumbing, we’re talking about the entire system end-to-end. That’s the pipes, fixtures and equipment – all the essentials to get the system running smoothly.
So what makes it ‘green’ as opposed to standard plumbing gear? Generally, the parts are made to be low-flow, low-toxic, ethically sourced and produced and made locally. Together, they become a system that can reduce your environmental impact – and water and waste.
So it’s not just the reduced impact of the system itself. It’s also about less impact on the external environment as a whole. And that’s something we can and should all get behind. In fact, there are calls to make green plumbing standard in new builds and renovation projects.
Le’s now look at how you can save water, waste, energy and money by making a few simple switches. Popular green plumbing solutions include:
You can also adopt some smart practices, like:
Enviroplumbing is becoming a ‘hot’ trade, as we all look to save money and resources. A professional, certified enviroplumber (also known as a sustainable plumber) is qualified to advise you in the best sustainable plumbing practices. They’ll make it simple to switch to green solutions. And you can be assured they have to work to a strict code of practice.
Another smart solution is water harvesting. Rainwater on the roof is pooled into a water tank. It’s stored there so you can use it anytime you need. And it can be hooked up to the plumbing, so you use the supply to flush the toilet or water the garden. It’s a great, free way to save water.
Greywater is one of the best ways to adopt green plumbing practices and save bucketloads. Rather than wasting fresh water, the system uses greywater which is used water from things like the sink, shower and washing machine. Once connected, the system uses the greywater to flush the toilet or water the garden.
Another great idea is using an integrated toilet suite. This is where the sink is attached to the top of the toilet tank. When you flush, fresh water flows from the tap to wash your hands. That greywater then goes into the cistern. This is a great option if you can’t install a greywater system on your property – and is particularly suited to a small bathroom as it takes up far less space than a separate toilet and sink.
Let’s look at a few facts and figures. Don’t worry, this stuff is interesting!
The average Australian household uses around 900 litres of water. Every. Single Day. That’s a lot of water down the drain. On top of that, around 150 litres of water per person is used each day at work.
While it’s tricky to calculate the exact amount of water used in household plumbing, we can look at individual parts of the plumbing system and see what can be saved bit by bit.
Let’s start with the humble toilet. Just one flush uses 12 litres of water! Here are some other numbers to consider:
Incredibly, we’re using around 55% more water than we did 25 years ago. That’s a staggering increase!
So what can you save switching to green plumbing solutions. Something like:
As well, switching to a water-saving showerhead could save thousands of litres each year. And one source says that if we all took shorter showers by using a timer, we’d have enough water to supply 1 million homes every day! (source)