The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water each day—which means it's time to investigate ways to reduce your home's water consumption. From the bathroom to the kitchen to the backyard, these seven water-wise systems will help limit your home's footprint.
Smart-flush toilets: You can save enormous amounts of water by buying the right appliances. In the bathroom, choose smart-flush toilet systems, like the Double-Cyclone mechanism employed in the TOTO Drake® II 1G Two-Piece Toilet, pictured. The system uses two nozzles to siphon water in a centrifugal, cyclonic motion, eliminating the need for multiple flushes.
Smart shower heads: In addition to the toilet, the shower is often a source of water loss in the bathroom. The Aero Rain Shower by TOTO, pictured, uses Aero-Jet technology, which infuses air into the water stream. This creates voluminous water droplets that contain less water than normal drops.
Harvest rainwater: If you're looking to make a big impact on your home's water consumption, consider a large-scale solution like rainwater harvesting. At this home in Carmel, California, the butterfly roof supports the collection of rainwater, which flows into hidden pumps at the notches of each roof that lead to concrete cisterns. During the summer, the cisterns passively release water into the meadow to irrigate the plants.
Greywater recycling: Another option is greywater recycling, a process that filters and recycles water from toilets, sinks, showers, and other apliances for reuse in the home as water for toilet flushing, irrigation, and more.
Native and drought-tolerant landscaping: By choosing plant breeds that are adapted to your local climate and require little water, you can all but eliminate water usage in your yard. Landscape architect Brennan Cox suggests how to get started. "Drought tolerance starts first with an acceptance of the flora that grows where you live," he says. "While planting doesn’t need to be dominated by natives, it should start with an understanding of what native plants can complement other drought-tolerant plants. This information comes from many trips to the nursery, books, and other informational sources."
Permeable hardscapingIn addition to planting native species, creating permeable hardscapes can help save water in your backyard. When there is space between elements like pavers, rainfall can more easily seep into the ground—an ideal solution for drought-prone environments.
Water-saving dishwasher: In the kitchen, the dishwasher is the largest source of water use, and dishwashers made before 1994 waste more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. Energy Star certified dishwashers employ soil sensors and more efficient jets to maximize cleaning while minimizing water use.