In their sustainability efforts, companies usually focus on reducing their energy use. But did you know that saving water also saves energy? By using less water, you don’t just cut down on your water costs. Your energy bill goes down, too. So, how does that work exactly?
Water and energy are inextricably tied together. For the production of any source of energy, water is an essential ingredient. Think of raw material extraction, cooling and cleaning processes, or powering turbines. And in turn, energy is needed to provide clean water for human consumption. That means that when we reduce our consumption of either one, we also reduce the other. By focusing on saving both energy and water, our sustainable impact increases significantly.
Producing and Heating Water
The production of clean water requires a lot of energy. Before you can even turn on the tap, it has to be extracted, purified, transported, and distributed to your property. And after it goes down the drain, it needs to be treated to make it safe for consumption again. Every step along the way costs energy. And we don’t just use cold water. We heat it, too.
An average household uses warm water in showers and baths, for doing dishes and for cleaning. To heat water, you need a certain amount of energy. How much energy depends on several factors. One of them is how water is consumed: do residents take long, hot showers multiple times a day, or stick to short and colder ones? The average daily warm water use per person varies between 10 and 100 liters per day. The more water that needs to be heated and the higher the temperature, the more energy is required. Responsible consumption can help cut down on both water and energy costs.
Installations and Emissions
The settings and quality of your installations are also a factor in the amount of energy required to heat water. Since a water heater continuously heats water, not just when you turn on the tap, it constantly uses energy. By adjusting the temperature that the installation is set to, you can potentially save on costs. Most households don’t need a temperature higher than 60 degrees Celsius, allowing them to prevent heat loss and waste of energy. And the higher the quality of the heater, the smaller the loss in energy will be.
Is your water heated using electricity? That’s usually generated in a plant and has to be transported to your property before it can finally be turned into heat. Energy transportation comes with considerable loss of energy along the way, which means that heating your water requires a lot of energy – and CO2 emissions. With gas-fired heaters, you don’t have that kind of loss of energy, but combustion gases come with their own problems: not just CO2, but sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
In cutting down your energy use and costs, and reducing your impact on the environment, taking (hot) water consumption into account is a smart move.
On average, reducing your properties’ water bill by 20% leads to about 5% less energy costs. And that’s getting more and more interesting, with prices of energy and water going up.
In Finland, for example, Helsinki’s energy company Helen has raised its prices for district heating with 25% this summer. And the fall prices will be increased by 30%, compared to last year. This will impact a third of the Finnish population, including more than half a million households. Helen says the increased costs are due to hikes in excise duties on fossil fuels, rising fuel prices and higher emission rights.
Want to learn more about the impact of water consumption on energy use and find out how to save on both? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!