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Water efficiency in the home
Water is something we need every day in our lives. It's also a valuable resource that we should never waste. Avoiding waste means being aware of how we use water and taking advantage of water-efficient appliances and fixtures.
You can take action to use water wisely at home whether you're renting, buying, selling, building or renovating. The decisions you make could affect your water usage for many years to come.
Water efficiency in the home means using less water to provide the same level of service or to get the same result.
Water efficiency can be achieved by using improved technology, for example water-efficient appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Water-efficient models will get your clothes and dishes just as clean—they'll just use less water doing it. Fixtures which allow us to use less water to get a job done effectively are also known as being water efficient, for example water-efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.
If you use less heated water then you'll be saving energy as well as water.
Installing water-efficient appliances and fixtures is a great way to start saving water, but the way you use water at home also makes a big difference. For example, the benefit of installing a water-efficient showerhead will be greatly reduced if you take long showers. Using water from your rainwater tank to hose down your garden path is a waste of water.
There are many actions you can take to use water efficiently, both inside and outside your home.
Building or renovating is often the perfect time to consider installing appliances and fixtures that allow you to reduce the amount of water you use.
If you want to install a greywater system and/or rainwater storage tanks, it's a good idea to factor this in during the planning stages. For example, a large underground water tank is a great way to store water for outside use, but can be difficult and expensive to install after a house has been built. Similarly, it can be difficult to retrofit a greywater system that recycles water from the shower, bath and hand basins.
If you're buying a home, look out for water-saving features. Homes with a number of water-saving appliances and fixtures can mean water wastage is considerably reduced. Look for features that suit your needs.
If you're selling a home, remember to advertise any water-saving or water-efficient features in real estate listings. Make sure you point these out to your real estate agent as well. These can add to the property's value and be a real selling point for buyers with an interest in household efficiency and sustainability.
Features such as greywater systems and rainwater tanks may appeal to keen gardeners, and water-efficient showers and other appliances may appeal to large families and those who want to minimise water costs and avoid wasting water.
If renting, you may feel that there aren't many changes you can make in your home to save water. But there are lots of actions you can take.
If you have inefficient showerheads or older single or dual-flush toilets, talk to your landlord about the possibility of making improvements. This can also improve the value of the landlord's property. You could also investigate any rebates and assistance available to landlords and pass on this information.
See our guide to renting for more water-smart tips.
A home sustainability assessment can help you to identify where you can make the biggest savings in your home including how you can save water, energy and money. Home assessments will identify ways you can reduce waste and improve water and energy efficiency. After your home assessment, you should receive a tailored report outlining the actions you can take and what your expected savings could be.
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