Real Estate Minute With Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh: Water Conservation Tips for Your Home


Hello my real estate family, apologies for going MIA last week. I trust that you are keeping safe as always. As you are aware, every now and then we bring you tips that can make home maintenance and utility management a tad easier in these tough times. Today, we will share a few water conservation tips that not only save you some Cedis for Easter, but also goes a long way to saving our water bodies, sources from which we draw water. An interesting data I discovered recently stated that in the life cycle assessment cost for buildings, the hard actual construction costs formed only about 20% of the entire life cycle costs while the operations maintenance costs take up a huge 80%, So, it’s really is no brainer to get the operations management right and water is a significant utility. Water efficiency or management doesn’t have to be anything grand, it just involves making a few changes around your home. Let’s dive in, shall we? 

Install High Efficiency Toilets

It’s easy to dismiss a lot of these modern labels as marketing gimmicks, I know, but you may really want to consider High Efficiency Toilets (HET). Studies indicate that If your home was built before 1994 you should think about replacing your toilet. The average person flushes the toilet 5 times per day, and these 5 flushes are on average 31% of your water usage.

Depending on the age of your toilet you could be wasting 35 gallons of water per day. Toilets made before 1980 use between 5-7 gallons of water per flush (gpf). At least 3.5 gallons of that water goes right down the drain every time you flush a toilet made between 1980 and 1994.  High Efficiency Toilets (HET) uses a maximum of 1.3 gallons of water per flush. And, for the highest water savings, a dual flush toilet will average 0.9 gpf. In case you have not experienced a dual flush toilet, they have one button for flushing liquids (and another for flushing solids

All the study above is saying in the lay Osu man’s language is that, having the right toilet set up can save you a lot on water and bills, so the next question naturally is, “how do I know if I have a high efficiency toilet or not? “Well, just take the following test as indicated from the study:

  1. Turn off the water supply line
  2. Flush the tank
  3. Take the lid off
  4. With a gallon jug, fill the tank until you reach the max fill line.
  5. Fill the bowl to water level mark
  6. Add the amount of water you put in the tank to the amount of water you put into the bowel. This will give you a good idea of how much water is used on each flush.   

 Install Low Flow Shower Heads 

I know you may be overwhelmed with all the data, but not to despair, try consuming it slowly so you can appreciate the big picture we are trying to paint. That said, here is your next round of data from another study. A Standard shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute (GPM). If a family of 4 installed a low flow shower head it would save over 10,000 gallons of water annually (based on 7–minute average showers). That is enough water to fill a 28’ round pool at 4’ deep. According to the studies 17% of residential water is used is for bathing.

When shopping for a new shower head look for a shower head that has a flow rate of 2.0 GPM or less. Some water companies offer a rebate for installing an efficient shower head. Saving water is great, but most of us use hot water for showers, installing a low flow shower head will also reduce your energy bill since you will end up using less water.  

Consider Using Grey Water  

According to my friends at grey water action, greywater is gently used water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feaces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers. Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. Keep in mind that if greywater is released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, its nutrients become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.The easiest way to use greywater is to pipe it directly outside and use it to water ornamental plants or fruit trees. Greywater can also be used to irrigate vegetable plants as long as it doesn’t touch edible parts of the plants.

So there you have it folks, a few tips to make that small change at home that can bring the bring savings as well as protect our water bodies, now that is something we can drink to!

The writer is the Executive director of Yecham Property Consult

 & Founder of Ghana Green Building Summit.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh

YouTube:  Real Estate Minute

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