Charity, they say, begins at home. So should environmental consciousness - at least some people believe that way ! And such people begin by making their homes eco-friendly. Green plumbing is part of this process.
The concept of Green Plumbing
Green plumbing, as the name suggests, means installing and running the plumbing system of a home or office in a way that helps save energy, minimize water consumption, decrease chemical effects and reduce utility bills. In order to improve sustainability of homes and reduce carbon footprints, people like to get the green plumbing system installed at homes - which involves reducing and recycling water usage by setting up eco-friendly water systems. The green plumbing concept essentially involves seting up reduced volume fixtures, low-flush toilets, low-flow or waterless urinals. Moreover, according to the green plumbing concept, since storage, usage and distribution of water consumes energy, conservation of water helps conserving energy as well.
Preventing wastage of water
There are two places at home where water consumption is maximum - the kitchen and the bathroom. A lot of water is wasted while bathing or flushing a toilet. More water falls on the floor than the body while bathing and 75% of the water used in flushing a toilet is wasted. And again, volumes of water go into the washing of vegetables, dishes and clothes. A proper green plumbing system helps prevent this wastage.
Installing eco-friendly toilets, showerheads and faucets
Use of "low-flow" shower-heads, toilets and faucets can help prevent water wastage. One very unusual and economical green plumbing technique involves placing a jar of stones in the tank of the toilet to reduce the amount of water that flows into the toilet bowl. Eco-friendly toilets use less water while providing the same functionality as conventional ones. Those living in areas of scarce water supply may consider using dual flush or even waterless toilets. Water-flow on faucets can be reduced using retrofit aerators. Installing Whole House water filtration systems not only remove pollutants and chemicals from water but help increase the durability of plumbing fixtures also, especially where the water supply has high levels of sediment.
Use of proper piping
Elaborate green plumbing systems can make use of solar heating and insulated hot water pipes, which help preventing waste of hot water and energy. Pipes should be chosen with a an eye towards improving water pressure and minimizing leakage. Those living in colder climates should ensure that the pipes are well-
insulated to prevent heat loss during the transit of water from heaters to faucets. Installing an on-demand hot water circulation pump can also prevent wastage.
Leak monitoring devices can provide timely alerts on possibile leakage.
Reclaiming rainwater and "greywater"
Green plumbing system also involves, where possible, harvesting of rain water. Rain water saved in big tanks can be used in flushing toilets, washing floors and watering plants. Rain water is even potable if it's free of acid vapours and pollutants. Like rainwater, green plumbing also employs the concept of greywater harvesting - which entails collecting and recycling of water used during baths or showers.
The business of green plumbing
With increase in demand for "green homes", green plumbing presents a good opportunity for both small ecopreneurs looking for new business ideas, as well as existing plumbers who have been using traditional plumbing methods till date. In fact, the "green plumbers" will definitely get a competitive edge with their sustainable and "cost-saving" advice on converting conventional plumbing systems to eco-friendly ones or - in houses under construction - installing a new system altogether. Look around for suppliers of eco-friendly plumbing appliances. Gaining knowledge about the new sustainable plumbing technology and water conservation methods will be an advantage.