Friday, October 21, 2011

Saving Electricity Helps Save Water - Saving Water Helps Save Electricity

Here's a good reminder for all of us: Saving electricity helps save water.
And saving water helps save electricity.

A recent article on Blue Living Ideas explained why saving electricity helps to save water.

Saving water directly is an important way to conserve, but did you know that electricity uses billions of gallons of water every year? Coal-fired and nuclear power plants use water. LOTS of water. 

In order to keep the power plant from overheating, utility companies pump in water to cool things off. The average coal power plant uses between 3500 and 28,000 gallons of water to produce a megawatt hour of electricity. That adds up to billions of gallons of water every single year! When you use electricity, you’re indirectly using water, and by cutting your energy use, you can help reduce water use at power plants.

But, saving water ALSO saves electricity. Here is some information from the EPA's Drops to Watts campaign:

Although most people understand that heating water requires energy, they don't always consider the energy it takes to treat and deliver the water they use. In 2005, the nation's municipal water infrastructure consumed about 56 billion kilowatt hours of electricity—that's enough energy to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year. Plus, as the demand for water grows, water utilities must pump water from more distant and deeper sources, which, in turn, requires even more energy. 

Conversely, while it takes vast amounts of energy to run our water infrastructure, it also takes vast amounts of water to cool power plants that generate our electricity. About half of the water gathered in the United States from surface and groundwater sources is used to cool power plants. On average, each kilowatt-hour generated requires approximately 0.2 to 0.3 gallons of water.

I think I'm getting pretty good about learning to save water. I use rain barrels around my home and I keep a container in my sink to rinse cans and plates rather than running the water. You can see more ways that I conserve water, especially in my landscape, by reading some of the Water Conservation posts on this blog.

But I know I still have a ways to go when it comes to saving electricity. One way I save is by pre-drying some of my clothes after I wash them. I put them on hangers and let them drip dry in the garage or back yard to get most of the moisture out. Then they need much less time in the dryer to get the job done and to tumble some of the wrinkles out. I think I will head over to to find some more ideas.

But what about you? What are some of the ways that you save electricity and water around your home? I'd love to hear them!

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