When we talk about “sustainable” living and having a “sustainable” home, we’re referring to practices that work towards the goal of helping to sustain the planet’s natural resources.
Importance of Eco-friendly Plumbing
When it comes to eco plumbing, in particular, there are several things we can do to help sustain the planet and to help you have a more sustainable home.
When you think of green home plumbing, you probably think of water, wastewater and heating. The plumbing systems in your home play a large role in:
- helping to save water
- helping to save energy, power, gas
- making sure our waste products are disposed of properly
- making sure our wastewater is disposed of properly
- finding ways to heat our water efficiently
- finding ways to heat our home efficiently
Using Kiwi green plumbing practices as well as eco plumbing fixtures and appliances can make a significant difference in helping to save our natural resources and to use them in a more environmentally-friendly way.
Water-Saving Fixtures: Reducing Water Usage in Your Home
Most of the water used in your home is used in the bathrooms (followed closely by the kitchen and the laundry). So start there with installing water-saving fixtures.
The easiest thing to start with is to install a dual-flush toilet. Toilets that have a half-flush setting really do save a noticeable amount of water.
There are also low-flow shower heads that can help save water use. They have come a long way since they were first introduced, and now with atomizing technology, they offer a good level of water pressure while saving on water use.
Greywater Systems: Reusing Water for a Sustainable Future
If you’ve tried shortening your wash cycles and household showers, and still want to further reduce the amount of water used in your home, it’s time to start reusing your greywater.
Greywater is the wastewater from the bath, shower, bathroom sink and washing machine. It’s safe to reuse for flushing the toilet and it can even be safe for watering the lawn and garden.
If you’re interested in finding out if a greywater storage tank would work for your home, contact us for free helpful advice.
Energy-Efficient Water Heaters: Saving Energy and Reducing Emissions
There are a number of different ways to heat the water that you use in your home. Some of these include:
- gas hot water cylinder
- electric hot water cylinder
- instantaneous/continuous flow gas hot water heating system
- heat pump hot water system
- solar hot water heating
These all vary in their energy efficiency, yet newer models are generally designed to focus on energy savings.
If you’ve got an older model hot water cylinder, you may want to look at upgrading to an instantaneous/continuous flow gas hot water heating system which only heats water as you use it – saving energy and dollars.
Pipe Insulation: Conserving Energy and Water in Your Plumbing System
Insulating the pipes in your home (especially the ones that run along exterior walls) can help make your home more sustainable in a couple of ways.
First, pipe insulation helps conserve energy by keeping the water hot as it travels from your water heating system to the faucet or shower. Second, you don’t have to run the water as long waiting for the water in the pipes to heat up, so you’re saving water.
You can insulate your pipes with foam coverings, pipe wraps or pipe wrapping tape – these are available from most hardware stores.
Leak Detection and Repair: Preventing Water Waste in New Zealand Homes
Even the tiniest of leaks can lead to large amounts of unnecessary water waste. It’s not good for the planet and it’s definitely not good for your water bill and wallet.
It’s important to regularly check for leaks from your pipes, faucets, taps, shower and other plumbing fixtures. Don’t forget to also check the outside taps and hoses.
The Sumich team can help you with drainage inspections and blocked drain plumbing solutions to make sure you don’t have any undetected leaks.
Sustainable Materials: Choosing Environmentally-Friendly Plumbing Options
When it comes to selecting plumbing materials, the list of more sustainable materials is increasing. There is a broad range of pipe materials we can choose from if we need to replace or install new pipes in your home. We can determine whether copper, pex or PVC is best for your home.
We can do a full review of your plumbing systems (particularly if you own an older home), and look to replace older materials that may not be sustainable or environmentally-friendly. Some older homes still have a type of plastic piping that was used in the 1970s-1980s which, if you still have, can lead to considerable damage.
We can also look to make your toilets, shower, waste disposal, water heating, etc more sustainable if needed. When it comes to plumbing options, whether you’re talking to a plumber or someone at your hardware store, it’s always worthwhile asking, “Is there a more sustainable option or material that can be used?”
Proper Disposal of Hazardous Materials: Protecting New Zealand’s Water Sources
In New Zealand, you cannot legally dispose of hazardous materials in the waste system or the water system. Not only is it illegal, but it is extremely bad for the environment. We must all do our bit to preserve our beautiful country as much as we can.
Materials are considered hazardous if they are explosive, flammable, toxic, corrosive, infectious, radioactive, etc. Common examples include most chemicals, paint, acid, and gas cylinders.
If you have hazardous materials to dispose of, do not put them in your curbside rubbish or recycling. Contact your local council to find out where there is a nearby disposal location. This may be referred to as a “transfer station”, a “refuse and recovery transfer station” or a “recovery station”.
Promoting Eco-Friendly Plumbing Practices
It’s everyone’s responsibility to put eco-friendly plumbing practices into action. Teach your young children water saving tips (e.g. turn the tap off when brushing; use the half-flush; be gentle with fixtures and appliances). Encourage your teens to reasonably shorten their shower time or to turn the water off while lathering the shampoo. Encourage family members to only turn the washing machine or dishwasher on when there is a full load. Don’t leave outdoor hoses running.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to ingrain some smart eco-friendly plumbing practices into your everyday life. Sometimes the smallest change in habit can make a huge difference in the water and energy you save.
Hiring a Professional Plumber: Ensuring Eco Plumbing Solutions
Promoting eco-friendly plumbing practices goes beyond the household as well. If you need an Auckland plumber for a repair or installation job and other affordable plumbing solutions, feel free to ask about our sustainability practices and environmental policies.
At Sumich Plumbing & Drainage, we’re always looking for ways to help our clients be more sustainable with our Auckland plumbing solutions. If you have any questions at all, we’re always more than happy to help – just give us a call on 0800 437 021.