Green Living Centre


Saving water in the home

By thinking carefully about your water use in the home and changing some water-wasting habits, it is easy to save water.

Vegetables and fruit should be washed in a bowl rather than under a running tap and the leftover water can be used for watering house plants.

Use the minimum amount of water required when you boil water in saucepans and kettles; that way, youll save energy as well as water.

Try keeping a bottle or jug of water in the fridge instead of running taps until the water runs cold.

Half-load programmes on dishwashers and washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load. Therefore, wait until you have a full load before switching the machine on. The average wash needs about 95 litres. A full load uses less water than 2 half loads.

Try not to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hands, as this can waste up to 9 to 5 litres of water per minute. Rinse out from a tumbler instead.

A 5-minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath. But remember that power showers can use more water than a bath in less than 5 minutes. An ordinary shower will use a third of the water, saving up to 400 litres a week.

Old toilet cisterns can use as much as 9 litres of clean water every flush. Reduce this by placing a save-a-flush or hippo in the cistern.

Dripping taps can waste up to 4 litres of water a day. Replace worn tap washers for a quick and cheap way of saving water.

Burst water pipes can cause serious damage as well as waste water. Ensure your water pipes and external taps are lagged in time for the cold winter months.

Every time you boil an egg save the cooled water for your houseplants. They'll benefit from the nutrients released from the shell.

Fit a water saving device in your cistern and save up to three litres a flush.

Grow your grass a little longer. It will stay greener than a close mown lawn and need less watering.

Installing a water meter can save you water and money by monitoring how much you use. If I you are on a water meter every litre of litre saved is money saved.

Lag your pipes to avoid bursts and leave your heating on a low setting while you are out in cold weather to prevent pipes freezing.

Replacing a toilet cistern can save water. Toilets manufactured after 1993 use less water per flush.

Use the dirty water when cleaning a fish tank on your houseplants. It's rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which provides an excellent fertiliser.

Very 'water efficient' washing machines and dishwashers are now manufactured. Machines with 'A' ratings are the most economical.

You can use less water by turning the hot tap down, rather than the cold tap up, if you require cooler water.

Cotton wool and tissues should be put in a waste bin rather than flushed down the toilet.

Use water from a bucket to wash the car

Old toilet cisterns can use as much as 9 litres of clean water every flush. Reduce this by placing a ‘save-a-flush’ or ‘hippo’ in the cistern.

But why use 9litres of high quality drinking water to flush 50 centi-litres or less urine?  Remember the moto:
“if it’s yellow let it mellow.  If it’s brown flush it down”! 

Saving water in the garden

Hoeing stimulates the growth of plants, reduces water loss from the soil surface and removes weeds that take up valuable water and nutrients.

Water your garden at the coolest part of the day to reduce evaporation.

Mulch for moisture in the garden. Adding a layer of tree bark, compost, coconut husks or even newspaper keeps the sun off the soil and retains precious moisture.

if you have a hose pipe ban, flouting this ban you could face a fine of up to £1000.

No further watering is usually required for established trees and shrubs.

Once a week is all the watering your lawn needs even in the hottest weather. Over- watering can weaken your lawn by encouraging roots to seek the surface.

Purchasing a water butt will help you to collect rain water for use on the garden.

Trigger nozzles can save water by using it only when needed. This can save up to 225 litres a week.

Sprinklers can be wasteful. It doesn't take long for a sprinkler to soak your lawn thoroughly. A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four will use in a day!

Question your local garden centre about the water requirements of different plants. Some thrive in drier conditions.

Grow your grass a little longer. It will stay greener than a close mown lawn and need less watering.


Heating and Hot water

It should be hot, but it doesn't need to be scalding.

A setting of 60°C/140°F is fine for bathing and washing.

Always put the plug in your basin or sink. Leaving hot water taps running with no plug washes money down the drain.

Place aluminium foil (shiny side out) behind your radiators to help reflect (heat inwards.
Place your thermostat on an inside wall and away from draughts.
Regularly bleed radiators to rid them of inefficient air bubbles:
Lag water tanks

Consider replacing open fires with wood burning stoves.

Curtains: close your curtains or blinds at dusk to stop heat escaping through windows.

Don't heat rooms unnecessarily.

It is cheaper to put on a jumper than the heating.
Use timer controls to turn heating on and off as needed.

Turning down the thermostat by 1°C will cut heating bills by 10%.

Fit thermostatic controls to your radiators and a programmable timer to your boiler to ensure that heat is provided where and when its needed.

Make sure your boiler is serviced at least every years. Also, replacing a 15 year old boiler could save you 20 per cent on your fuel bills or 32 per cent if a condensing boiler is installed and up to 40 per cent if you also install the right heating controls.