Designing and Building a Water Efficient House - kengo kuma house japan garden
Building a Water-Efficient House | © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

Eco-friendly design is the way of the future when it comes to creating and constructing a new home. When designing a new build, it’s common for people to focus primarily on ways to increase electrical, heating, and cooling efficiency.

However, water efficiency is also an essential element to consider. Focusing on ways to reduce your home’s water consumption from the very beginning will play a crucial role in creating a truly sustainable home. Here are six simple ways to reduce water wastage and save money when building a new house.

1. Minimize Water Consumption with a Shower Timer

Winding down in a warm shower can be a therapeutic experience. However, these long, luxurious showers can waste immense amounts of household water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the average American citizen uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water each day. A lot of this water usage comes from lengthy showers.

An easy solution is to install a shower timer. This device will monitor the amount of water used during each shower. If a shower is taking too long, the timer will sound an alert before automatically shutting off the water supply.

2. Collect and Reuse Rainwater

Rainwater tanks are a fundamental component of any water-efficient home. If you’re building in a climate that is prone to heavy rainfall, collecting and reusing this sustainable water source is especially important.

While rainwater is not potable water, it can still be useful in your new home. It can be used for bathing pets, washing cars, and even flushing your toilet. Rainwater is also a fantastic option for garden irrigation. If you live in a region with seasonal drought conditions and regular water restrictions, rainwater is the perfect substitute to keep your garden alive and well.

Just note that some locations do restrict rainwater collection. Be sure to check your local council regulations before incorporating rainwater storage into your home design plans.

3. Install a Dishwasher

There’s no denying that hand-washing dishes is the least enjoyable part of a good meal. For this reason alone, a dishwasher is a superior choice. But beyond the obvious convenience that these kitchen appliances offer, dishwashers can also deliver impressive water savings.

Many modern dishwashers are equipped with innovative water-efficient features. These include improved water filtration, increased water jet efficiency, and smart dish rack designs. Together, these impressive features can reduce your household’s water consumption.

Automatic dishwashers often use less water than hand-washing methods. In fact, a standard-sized dishwasher can, on average, save 3,870 gallons of water throughout its lifespan. So, when designing your kitchen space, be sure to make room for this water-efficient appliance.

dishwasher applicane plumbing tips
Dishwashers save water consumption
dishwasher applicane plumbing tips
Integrated dishwasher

4. Instant Hot Water System for Water Efficiency

Instant hot water systems work as the name suggests: instantly. These tankless, on-demand systems can come in either electric or gas models and will heat your water immediately. So, instead of letting your tap run continuously until the water heats up, it’s ready to go straight away. This may not seem like much, but it will equal long-term savings on your water bills. Are you hooked? You can check electric on-demand water heater reviews here

During the build phase of your new home, Upside Down recommends contacting a qualified professional to handle your hot water system installation. This will ensure that it is installed properly so that you can enjoy long-term water efficiency and low water bills.

5. Choose Low-Flow Fixtures for your Bathroom

Showers and toilets are the most significant sources of water consumption in any household. To improve the water efficiency of these fixtures, design your new bathroom with low-flow taps, toilets, and showerheads.

Installing these water-efficient fixtures can significantly reduce your daily water consumption. To qualify as low-flush plumbing fixtures, your toilet’s flush volume shouldn’t exceed more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, and water-efficient showerheads should use less than 2.5 gallons per minute.

6. Reduce Irrigation for Impressive Water Savings

The United States EPA says that residential irrigation systems account for almost 8 billion gallons of water used each day. A large amount of this water is wasted due to poor irrigation strategies.

When designing a sustainable home, opt to plant drought-resistant grass over installing an irrigation system. Your lawn might not look as lush and green as your neighbors’, but you’ll be compensated with a lower water bill and other environmental benefits.

If you do need to water your lawn, just be sure to:

  • Water your grass early in the morning to avoid midday evaporation
  • Ensure your irrigation system has been adjusted to only water the areas in need
  • Minimize evaporation loss by using methods that apply water directly to your grass instead of spraying