Plumbing is one of the most important aspects that we should not overlook while building a sustainable home. How can we go green with our plumbing?
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Compare Plumbing Pipe Materials: PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is the most widely used plumbing pipe material today, followed by iron, copper, and ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), another common type of plastic used in drainage pipes. New polyethylene and polypropylene products are more eco-friendly but less widely available. Compare all these in terms of materials, energy inputs, and lifespan.
Save Energy, Not Plastic: Eco-conscious consumers should also focus on saving both energy and water. Regularly check for leaky pipes, and shop for low-flow showerheads, dual-flush toilets and water-restricting aerators. Homeowners can also find ways to reduce hot water usage and reuse “gray” wastewater if possible. Hire a reliable, knowledgeable plumber to repair your system and install new pipes or fixtures as necessary.
Wrap the Pipes: Finally, no matter which type of pipe you decide to use, hot and cold water pipes should be insulated wherever possible. Pipe insulation is cheap and easy to install. Simply wrap pre-slit polyethylene and neoprene foam tubes around the pipes, then tape or clamp them shut. Foam pipe insulators are estimated to cut heat loss by up to 80 percent, and they keep cold water pipes from sweating. They can raise water temperatures four degrees, allowing a lower, more energy-efficient setting on water heaters.