What to Do with All this Rain Water? Recycle it of Course
Water is a valuable resource and we in the
United States use much more than our fair share of it. Water conservation can
save money and the environment but in addition to simply using less water, there
are other ways to use the same water for multiple purposes right at home.
Use "gray water" on gardens and plants.
"Gray water" is a term for water that has
already been used in showers, bathtubs, sinks or dishwashers. This water is
certainly not fit for human consumption but it is clean enough to be used in gardens and on plants around the
Bathwater or shower water is best but water
that has been used to wash dishes is also okay, as long as there's not too much
grease or food left on the dishes before they go into the washer. Water may be
collected manually by scooping it out of the bathtub or drainage pipes can be
re-routed to a small storage tank.
According to the UMass Extension, a group of
educators and specialists from different biology and ecology-based disciplines,
one square foot of healthy soil can generally handle a half gallon of gray water
each week. So a 10X10 ft. garden plot can recycle up to 50 gallons of gray water
Use sink water to flush toilet waste.
To make water usage more efficient, some
water can serve two purposes before it leaves the home. Since it's not necessary
to flush a toilet with clean water, pipes can be re-arranged so that gray water
from the bathroom sink will fill the toilet tank. Of course, the dog may be a
little disappointed that his favorite drinking source tastes a little funny but
keeping the seat down could solve that problem.
Try placing a barrel at the bottom of a
downspout and collect rainwater there. The EPA claims that a house with a 1,500
square foot roof in a region that gets at least 20 inches of rain a year could
potentially collect 18,680 gallons of water annually. This water may then be
used for watering lawns and gardens. Or, like some rainwater harvesters, you may
even incorporate your own purification system, and be able to use this water for
Volume IV, Issue 9
Westar Energy has taken a
big step toward helping customers save a buck and the environment at the same
A new tool on
westarenergy.com is Business Energy Advisor, an online offering where
customers can compare their energy consumption month over month or
year over year and see the impact of weather on their usage. They can
fill out a specific business profile to analyze energy usage in the
customer account manager with Westar Energy, says the Advisor program is
designed for small and medium -type businesses. She says a larger business might
already have its own management system due to size but Westar has acted on
customer requests for energy tools that can be useful for local businesses
including bookstores, restaurants, warehouses, dry cleaners, office spaces,
beauty salons and others.
Harris says Business
Energy Advisor can be accessed through a customer's Westar account, meaning only
one login for both bill pay and the Advisor program. After logging on,
businesses can receive customized energy efficiency and energy
source information by completing a profile, which takes about 10 minutes to
complete. They fill in information about their office or facility
then the program will provide information tailored to their business. Weather
data will also be incorporated with usage information.
"If a customer fills out
a business profile they will receive customized information, including what we
call an energy wheel, which gives them an idea of which sources make up their
energy consumption," Harris says. "When they see where their usage comes from
they can implement energy efficiency measures. They can also download the
information in an energy report."
Westar Energy wants
this site to be a one-stop shop for energy tools. If a customer already has
online account access they can log in and look for the Business Energy Advisor
tab to begin their profile. Harris says Westar has invested in renewable
energies as well, namely clean wind as an energy source.
"We are also
developing more programs and resources specifically for customers," she says.
"This tool helps gives customers the information they need to make
the best energy decisions for their business.
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