Client Books Homestar - New Zealand Green Building Council - Page 53

Simple changes and improvements can make our homes water wise Water is a precious resource and crucial for a healthy natural environment. Although few towns in New Zealand charge for water use, many places experience water shortages during some months of the year. It’s not hard to reduce the water we use at home, bringing real benefits to the environment and, if you’re paying for water, to your household bills. Smarter water use also eases pressure on local infrastructure. Changes range from everyday behaviour, to larger investments such as installing a rainwater tank. Being aware of water efficiency when choosing tapware or appliances can make a substantial difference. Water flow rate is especially important – this is the speed and volume at which water comes out of taps and showerheads. The recommended top flow rate for showerheads is nine litres of water per minute (LPM), and for taps no more than six litres a minute. However, some are far less efficient. Installing flow restrictors or switching to efficient taps and showerheads can save a lot – and you’ll probably never notice the difference. HOW TO CHECK WATER FLOW RATES Measuring water flow rate is simple. Turn the shower or tap to its normal setting and let water flow for 10 seconds into a bucket or container with measurements marked on it. Then, measure the amount of water in litres and multiply by 6 to calculate rate per minute. If the flow rate is high, you can change it easily by using flow restrictors or changing to low-flow showerheads, or talk to your plumber for more ideas. Amount 1 litre 1.5 litres Litres per minute (LPM) 6 LPM 9 LPM 2 litres 12 LPM Excellent 2.5 litres 3 litres 15 LPM 18 LPM Average Excessive