When most homeowner guides talk about making your home more energy efficient, conversation always leads toward what you can do in your own home. In order to be more energy efficient, you can buy more efficient appliances for example – a new Energy Star rated appliance can help you save energy and water significantly over the course of a year.
But what about outside the home?
Water and energy are closely related. In fact, having a clean, reliable water source available to us for use throughout our communities consumes a considerable amount of energy. The clean water that flows out of your tap undergoes a variety of stages of processing and transport before it arrives safely in our neighborhoods.
Energy is used in five stages in the water cycle:
- Extracting the water supply – water starts at the source – in rivers, streams or aquifers – and then must be pumped into storage facilities for further processing
- Water treatment – energy is used as the water goes through various stages of processing and treatment
- Water distribution – once the water is properly treated, it must be transported to its final destination – your home, place of work, commercial location, etc
- Using water – energy is used to consume water in its final form – it can be combined with softeners, used with filters, circulated with appliances, converted from hot to cold, or used in irrigation systems
- Treating wastewater – as water is used, it is returned to the system and pumped back to the treatment plant for processing
Each stage uses a significant amount of energy.
- In order to bring the water in from source, process it, and get it to its final destination, it must be transported. Pumping groundwater to the surface and over the land is a very energy intensive process. In many major areas, water can be pumped and transported hundreds of miles from the source before it is used.
- The average home uses around 15 percent of its energy costs to heat water. Nearly 30 percent of all indoor water use is with hot water. Because hot water is used for so many things, it is important to reduce energy where you can.
- After wastewater leaves your home or commercial location and flows into the sewer, it must be pumped back to the treatment plant for processing. On average, it takes anywhere from 500 to 1500 kilowatt hours per acre foot.
Saving energy is something that can occur at every level, with even the tiniest change adding up significantly over time. If you would like to learn even more about saving energy within your own home, contact us today for a home energy audit.