The next time you hop in the shower, think about this. The average American shower uses about 50 gallons of water. That's 18,000 gallons a year, or enough to fill a couple of backyard pools. But, there are ways you can save both water and energy.
"There's a lot of places around the world where they are literally running out of fresh water and so it's important for all of us to conserve, I think," says Bill LaBine. He isn't your average homeowner. He is a green home consultant, and at his Avon home, he doesn't let energy or money get washed down the drain.
"If you can take a shower and use less water and use less energy to heat that shower, than that's a wonderful thing," says LaBine.
He has a way to do both. It's called a drain water heat recovery system. LaBine says, "as you're taking a shower the drain water goes down through what is really a drain pipe here. Because it's made out of copper, it's able to transfer the heat to the cold water that is coming through the outside coil."
He's had the system for about 10 years and is already seeing a difference. "They say at least 50 percent savings on your shower which is the biggest water consumer for most people."
LaBine has even gone so far as to use solar panels to heat up his hot water. "We have solar hot water panels in the summer we make virtually all our hot water from the sun," he says.
Of course, not everyone is going to that extreme. You can also save by using a low-flow shower head and upgrading your hot water heater to a more energy efficient one.
"For a lot of reasons it's just not good to squander natural resources in general and water is a very precious resource. "