Yep, it’s that time of year again, when all the family’s in one place, eating, drinking, being merry and using absolutely loads of water.
A recent survey by a well-known bathroom manufacturer suggests that we use five times more of the old H2O than we think – and it sounds about right to us.
Our own surveys consistently suggest that water wastage is something of a forgotten drain on household resources. And with a spike in kitchen and bathroom activity at this time of year, there’s a promise of a duel bill spike to come: where there’s water there’s energy – and there’s little need for us to reiterate the basic economic problem there.
Far be it for us to dampen (sorry) enthusiasm for the season, though. It shouldn’t get to the point where you’re shovelling snow into the kitchen to melt down for a cuppa. We’ve got plenty of tips on saving water and energy, plus our Water Energy Calculator to give you a handy baseline to work from.
There are also lots of free water-saving devices available from water companies around the nation, if you ask nicely – most will offer you it even if you don’t. Almost all the UK’s water companies offer some kit to put you on the road to a water-efficient home just in time for Christmas, if you act pretty damn fast – and Reduce Reuse Recycle have been kind enough to compile a list of exactly what’s on offer from whom.
And it’s not just water companies realising the benefits of looking after their customers with a cheap and effective helping hand. If you live in social housing in the Midlands, there’s every chance your landlord could be on their way round bearing gifts, as part of an expanded Environment Agency scheme.
Then of course there are devices of the fancier nature which might just work as a last-minute gift for the thrifty. There are lots of online ‘eco-retailers’ these days like this one offering shower heads, timers, and even a diverter to help you put your bath water to outside use. Which? has some useful reviews of water efficiency gadgetry if your emphasis is firmly on substance over style.
Part of the run-up-to-Christmas is child-to-parent lobbying, often based on what they’ve seen on TV. If they’ve been watching Nickelodeon, though, they may well be educating you on water efficiency via an industry award-winning rapping camel (seriously- click the link) and earnestly requesting a toilet hippo in their stocking…perhaps that’s pushing it a bit, but catching ‘em early can sometimes be a good thing it seems.
For those without responsibilities just enjoying a hearty booze-up this season, you can potentially feel good about the whole thing too – at least when it comes to water efficiency. There are plenty of notable progress-makers in the brewing industry (covered previously by our beer-swilling blogger Sarah) and Carling’s parent company has recently been crowing about hitting a target for zero waste to landfill on top of its efforts in waste water recycling.
Looking forward to 2013, and the Green Deal and ECO kicking off in earnest, we’ve teamed up with long-time friends Waterwise to produce new guidance to encourage water companies to play a big role in making cost-effective cuts in carbon and bills by getting heavily involved in energy efficiency retrofit work around the country.
With water use accounting for about 13 per cent of a home’s energy bills (not forgetting the water ones) it would be the biggest waste of all to miss out on this no-brainer of a New Year’s Resolution.
Phew, lots to think about. And they told me the water-themed Christmas blog was a pipe dream…