Wasting water and energy second nature in most British households

July 4th, 2013 by Energy Saving Trust

(please click on report cover to go to the Energy Saving Trust website)

(please click on report cover to go to the Energy Saving Trust website)

Based on a study of 86,000 British households, the shower represents the biggest single use of water in the average British home.

The study published in the report “At Home with Water” was commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust Foundation, in partnership with DEFRA, Procter and Gamble, Thames Water, Consumer Council for Water and SaveWaterSaveMoney.

Twenty-five percent of water use in the average home in the study went through the shower, followed by 22% going through the toilet.

The study shows that the average time a person spends in the shower is 7 1/2 minutes, with one in eight people having showers lasting over ten minutes. The study calculates that reducing the length of each shower by one minute would save British household £215 million in energy bills per year.

Two thousand million litres of water go through British home showers everyday.

Although a quarter of the respondents employed lower flow showers, an equal number used high flow power showers.

The average home in the study used 22% of their water supply in the kitchen.

The cost of overfilling the kettle when boiling water was estimated at £68 million for British households.

An electricity meter shows the kettle using 2850 watts of power

An electricity meter shows the kettle using 2850 watts of power (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Andrew Tucker, water strategy manager at Energy Saving Trust, said “when people think of energy use they think of heating and lighting, running electrical appliances or filling the car with petrol.”

“It’s all too easy to turn on the tap and not think about the consequences.”

“There is an environmental and energy cost attached to water which many people do not consider. On average, hot water use contributes £228 to the average annual combined energy bill,” he said.

“It’s clear that we are all using more water-consuming appliances regularly, especially showers, but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless to control our water use,” Mr Tucker said.

“By reducing the amount of water – especially hot water – that we use, we can cut down on the energy demands of our lifestyles, which have changed radically over the last 50 years.”

The survey of 86,000 British households found that on average each person uses about 142 litres of clean water per day.

Paul Rutter, sustainable water manager at Thames Water, said “the future challenge of finding enough water resources means all water companies have a duty to promote efficiency, and the research carried out by the Energy Saving Trust helps towards that aim.”

“Importantly, their work linking the costs of heating water helps make the point that win-win chances to save both water and energy are out there,” Mr Rutter said.

Homeowners wanting information on saving energy and water at home can visit the Energy Saving Trust website or call the Energy Saving Trust’s helpline on 0300 123 1234.


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