Seventy percent of Earth’s surface is covered with water, but only one percent of that is available for humans to use.
Water is a precious resource that humans have sometimes taken for granted, but with the rise of public water-saving initiatives, an increased focus on personal responsibility, and the progress being made with advanced technology, we're more poised than ever to fix that.
Programs like the EPA’s WaterSense partnership program are working to promote water-saving technology and inform the public of the gravity of this particular environmental concern. If a product or system has a WaterSense label, you can be certain that it uses at least 20 percent less water than the original model in addition to being more energy efficient.
We think this kind of technology has the potential to change the world, and it's what we're all about at Xeros. Here are a few examples of water-saving technology we hope to see more of in 2018:
1. Water-Saving Toilets
Let’s talk toilets. In the U.S. alone, around 4.8 billion gallons of water are literally flushed down the toilet each day.
However, with the increasing popularity of sustainable toilet manufacturers like Toto, toilets are being fashioned to use as little water as possible while also increasing performance and improving the overall bathroom experience. A Toto toilet, for example, uses a high-efficiency double cyclone flush system that only requires 1.28 gallons of water per flush. To put this in perspective, older toilets use anywhere from three to seven gallons of water per flush.
Dual-flush toilets have also hit the market in recent years. Dual-flush toilets offer two different water levels—less for liquid waste, more for solid waste—so you can avoid unnecessarily flushing five gallons of water every single time you go to the bathroom. Many easy-to-install toilet developments along these lines are already on the market, and you can expect to see many more fixtures like this in the near future.
2. Low-Flow Showers
You can’t talk about water conservation and not immediately glare at the shower, cursing the amount of time it takes for your water to warm up. Luckily, huge strides are being made to improve the sustainability of showers.
Low-flow systems are the answer, but a low-flow stream doesn’t sound like the most appealing shower experience. An efficient showerhead, according to WaterSense standards, would only use 2 gallons of water per minute, and so more and more companies are pursuing a showerhead model that doesn’t compromise quality for flow.
In the interim, there are energy efficient, hot water-saving showerhead attachments.
According to the EPA, “Replacing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models can reduce the average family's water and electricity costs by $70 and can save the average family more than 2,700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to wash 88 loads of laundry.”
3. Stop the Leaks
When it comes to water consumption, every drop counts. Although we may not notice it, leaks are a major culprit of water waste. More than a trillion gallons of water are lost to leaks each year in the U.S.
With this in mind, most smart home systems include a water/moisture sensor that alerts your smartphone when it detects either of the two. Some sensors and systems immediately shut off your water system to prevent further damage and waste. Other appliances are hooked up to your main water supply line and constantly track the water flow to prevent the smallest of leaks before they become a problem.
Leaks might seem like they’re out of your control because they’re less obvious than a toilet flushing or a running shower, but there are affordable ways to prevent, track, and reduce leakage. Avoiding water damage is just an added bonus.
The point here is that today, almost every area you can think of where we use water has experienced an advance in technology that will help us use less of it, and we hope to see those become the standard, not the exception, in 2018 and beyond.