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What is the link between energy and water?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 July 2015 at 3:30 pm

Would you like to save approximately £200 per year from your energy bills? Of course you would and, surprisingly, one way to do so is to become more water efficient. How does that work? Well, there is strong link between the amount of water we use in our homes and the amount of energy we use.

A recent report by The Energy Savings Trust and Waterwise found that only eight percent of consumers were aware that the water they used contributed to their energy bills; in other words people didn’t make the link between their hot water use and their energy use and consequently their energy bills. 

Why is the water–energy link so important? 

It is estimated that up to four percent of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions arise from heating water in our homes. When we use hot water in our homes, the energy generated to heat it, produces carbon dioxide emissions which is one of the main greenhouse gases that causes climate change. What's more, as the UK's population (and the world’s population) increases, there will be additional strain on all resources including water and energy. So, by reducing the amount of water and energy we use, we can help reduce carbon emissions and help combat climate change, as well as save money. 

How can we save water and reduce our energy bills?

Today in the UK each person on average uses 150 litres of water per day. 30% of a typical home’s heating bill is from heating the water for showers, baths and hand washing, as well as heating water for appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Altogether this equates to about £200 a year. Fortunately, it is very easy to reduce your bills as well as save water through simple water efficiency behaviours and improvements. Here are some top tips.

Top tips to save water and energy:

  1. If you heat your water with an immersion use a timer, so you only heat the water required. 
  2. Insulate your hot water cylinder. 
  3. Consider installing solar water heating, it will pay in the long run.
  4. When buying new appliances choose ‘A+’ rated appliances as a minimum (they use less energy and water). It’s actually possible to get A+++ now, so that would be even better. 
  5. Only use your washing machine and dishwasher with a full load and use the most water and energy efficient settings. A long setting on a dishwasher can be up to 3 hours, whereas an eco-setting may be less than half an hour.
  6. Fit low flow taps or aerators to bathroom and kitchen taps, they reduce the volume of water delivered without any real noticeable difference. 
  7. Take showers - an average shower uses 30 litres of water compared with 80 litres for the average bath. 
  8. If you do take a bath, by filling it an inch less than usual you can save up to five litres of water. 
  9. Turn taps off when brushing teeth and shaving.
  10. Only fill the kettle with the water required.

Remember, heating water costs you money. By adopting some or all of these easy tips you can save water, save energy and save money, as well as reducing your impact on the environment, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions - a win-win for everyone.

Photo: JM Brea

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2 comments - read them below or add one


TimothyH74Comment left on: 8 July 2015 at 11:37 am

Couldn't agree with your comment MK.

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MuppetKeeperComment left on: 7 July 2015 at 9:01 am

Whilst often demonised on this site, I feel that my installation of a solar diverter creates a very strong emotional link between water and energy use.

I know that currently gas water heating produces slightly less CO2 than diverted solar, but that gap is closing, and i'd like to park that thought there.

The real environmental saving is in both energy and water efficiency.  My solar diverter is fitted where my family can see it, and it is "referred to" many times a day. The information seen there has driven a few new behaviours...

1. People turn off appliances, TV's etc etc in order to allow the water to be heated more quickly by the solar.

2. Less hot water is wasted as we can "see it" being heated by the solar, and understand it's cost.

3. Even more insulation added to the hot water tank, as it has to "last overnight" if people want a hot shower in the morning.

This direct relationship between production and use has meant that even in a "not very sunny june", my families total consumption of energy was £20 for the month, which isn't bad for a 4 bed house in the north of England.


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