28 Jan 2023 - 19:30:23
|It wasn't until I lived in Australia that I actually understood what people meant by 'wasting water'. Leaving the tap on whilst I brushed my teeth was something I had always done without even thinking about it but once I realized how precious water is I was forced to change my habits.
Australia's (relatively) new found desire to save water has developed a lot over the past few years causing companies within the industry to change their products to be more in line with peoples changing expectations. Whether you are redecorating, renovating or replacing your bathroom, a great way to combat wasting water is by changing your fittings.
The Australian Government Water Efficiency Labeling and Standards Scheme (WELS) was introduced in 2006. The WELS star rating, labeled on the products you buy, is an indication of that product's water efficiency. This information is available when buying showerheads, tapware (excluding bath tapware) and toilets, which are the 3 main culprits for the majority of water use in the bathroom. Over half the average households water use comes from the bathroom. With the launch of WELS introducing water efficient products to your home is now a much simpler task.
Bathroom Taps: A minimum 5 Star WELS rating is required for a good basin tap. If you want to save a substantial amount of water but don't want to change your whole tap you can simply add an aerator to the existing tap. An aerator is inserted into your existing tapware regulating the flow of water. Another great way to save water is by using mixers. Unlike taps where you need to run the water to get the right temperature (a huge waste!), mixers allow you to decide on the desired heat before turning the water on. There is a lot of variety now available so you can find tapware that is affordable, good looking and water efficient.
Dual Flush Toilets: New, modern dual flush toilets use on average 3.1 litres per flush, astonishing really when you think of the original single flush toilets used up to 12 litres per flush. Until recently Australia had a standard 6 litres for a full flush and 3 litres for a half flush. Most dual flush toilets are now available with 4.5 litres for full flush which has made a huge influence on household water use. Popular toilet models have changed the internal workings so that they can comply with this new standard, an example of this being the Back-to-Wall Toilet Suite. Although water saving is part of the products we now buy it is still important to remember only to flush the toilet when necessary, use bins for items such as wet wipes and cotton buds and when possible use only the half flush.
Bidets: As well as being very hygienic bidets are, perhaps surprisingly, a great way to save water. Sounds a bit wrong doesn't it? How can using water over toilet paper possibly be water efficient? As it so happens making toilet paper is actually a very water intensive process. Bidets aren't just European chic, they're effective water saving bathroom components too.
Showerheads: Under the WELS program most showers use around 9 litres of water per minute (LPM). Previously the standard was 25 LPM, a scary thought when I think back of the long, hot showers I had as girl! Nowadays though you can get luxurious showers that achieve a water efficiency of only 7.5 LPM. The Gilly Variable Setting Shower on Bracket is a great example of this.
Baths: WELS restrictions don't exist on bath tapware, as the capacity of your bath remains unchanged. The amount of water that is used will remain the same regardless of how much water comes out of the spout with the only difference being the amount of time it takes to fill that bath. There are always still ways, however that you can save water, by having a smaller bath or only filling it when necessary. Instead of repeatedly refilling the bath for children, bathing together is now a lot more common. Showering with the new showerheads is the most Shower Clock for sale in USA efficient way to wash nowadays. Perhaps save a bath for a special 'treat' after a long week.
Saving water has become a way of life in Australia but there is always room for improvement. If you have old bathroom fixtures there are changes that you can make to further decrease your water use.