In the Bathroom
· Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving. Save 4-10 gallons a day. Never use
your toilet as a wastebasket. Save 3-7 gallons per flush. Don't take marathon showers. Five minutes
will get you clean. Save 3-7 gallons per shower.
· Close your tub drain before turning on the water. Save 3 gallons or more. Fill your bathtub only
halfway. Save 5 gallons or more. Saves in hot water costs, too.
Kitchen and Laundry Areas
· Fill your sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes. Saves 8-15 gallons per day. Saves in
hot water costs, too
· Run you dishwasher only when full. Save up to 15 gallons per load. Saves in hot water costs,
too. Wash vegetables and fruit in a basin. Use a vegetable brush to remove dirt. Save 2-4
gallons per day.
· Run your garbage disposal only when necessary. Save 2-7 gallons per minute.
· Run the washing machine only when full and adjust the water level setting carefully. Washing
machines use 22-25 gallons per load. Save the water for 1-2 loads every week. Saves in hot
water costs, too.
1. Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or
garden, or cleaning.
2. Verify that your apartment is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks.
3. Report dripping faucets. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can
expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities.
4. Check for toilet tank leaks. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts.
5. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the
trash rather than the toilet.
6. Take shorter showers.
7. Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub
only 1/3 full. Stopper tub before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by
adding hot water later.
8. Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for
water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
9. Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly
set the water level for the size of load you are using.
10.When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a
slow-moving stream from the faucet.
11.Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool
glass of water.
12.Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the
refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave.
13.When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the
water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the
14.If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, have it
replaced or adjust it.
EPA-Sponsored Report Finds Billing Residents for Water Separately From Rent Can Conserve Significant Amounts of Water and Can
Help Municipalities Delay Costly Infrastructure Expansions
Contact: Michael Tucker, 202/974-2360, email@example.com
For Release: September 1, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC -- Municipalities and policy makers seeking incentives to improve water conservation should embrace direct water billing by the apartment industry,
according to a new study produced in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 10 municipal water utilities and two national apartment
The National Multiple Family Submetering and Allocation Billing Program Study, a three-year effort to determine the water savings potential in the apartment sector from
requiring residents to pay for their water consumption separately from their rent, found that billing residents for their water usage by direct metering could reduce annual
water consumption by an average of 15 percent.
"This latest research supports the apartment industry's long-hold contention that people tend to value things they pay for," noted Eileen Lee, Ph.D., Vice President of
Environment for the National Multi Housing Council/National Apartment Association Joint Legislative Program and a study sponsor. "Unbundling water charges from the
typical rent payment can provide consumers with an important signal about the price of a resource. Not only do residents use less water when they are paying directly for
it, but it also makes them more aware of the importance of immediately reporting plumbing leaks in their homes."
"This unique collaborative project shows the degree to which water billing is one of those rare issues that unites water providers, regulators, conservation groups and
apartment owners," explained Lee. "Water is a precious resource, and many drought-stricken regions are finding it increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain new
supplies. Meanwhile other cash-strapped areas are looking for ways to postpone costly new water treatment plants and other infrastructure investments required to keep
up with current demand."
The research, conducted by Aquacraft under the direction of Dick Bennett of the East Bay (CA) Municipal Utility District, found that fully 85 percent of apartment properties
still include water in the rent. This suggests there is enormous conservation potential if utilities use their avoided costs to provide incentives to property owners to
upgrade plumbing fixtures and implement direct billing programs.
"Direct water billing is a natural response to growing water shortages," noted Barbara Vassallo, Esq., Vice President of State and Local Policy for the National Apartment
Association. "Before the energy crisis of the 1970s, electricity was typically included in rent. Today billing residents directly for the electricity they use in their apartment is
standard practice, and by all accounts, this has significantly reduced electricity usage."
The report's authors concur, writing "direct metering and billing of water for apartment residents encourages water efficiency and promotes a water billing system as
transparent as other utilities like gas and electricity, phone and cable, whereby residents pay for what they use."
In addition to recommending the installation of water submeters on apartment properties, the report also recognizes the value of water-efficient plumbing fixtures and
suggests that properties built prior to 1995 retrofit with water-efficient fixtures prior to undertaking a water billing program. It also calls on policymakers to establish
incentive programs to facilitate the acquisition of these fixtures. The report further recommends that EPA cease to apply certain federal Safe Drinking Water Act
requirements to apartment properties that bill their residents separately for water, since billing has no impact on drinking water quality.
The practice of using an allocation formula (based on the unit's square footage, number of taps, etc.) instead of a submeter to estimate water consumption for each
apartment unit was not found in this study to have a statistically significant impact on water consumption. Although study authors acknowledge that their research
focused primarily on properties in the Southwest and that they might have documented more water savings from allocation billing if they had been able to study more
buildings on the East Coast, where it is often impractical to retrofit older properties with individual water meters.
"This finding directly contradicts the finding of an earlier study conducted by Industrial Economics which showed that alternative (non-metered) water billing properties use
between six and 27 percent less water than properties where water is simply included in the rent," said Lee. It is important to remember that it is not feasible to install
sub-meters in all properties, particularly in older mid- and high-rise apartments. In addition, some areas of the country prohibit Point of Sale meters, so water allocation
may be the only bridge to resident billing."
"We support the report's call for additional research into water allocation as an alternative to submetering to determine whether different areas of the country, responding
to varying water price signals, weather conditions and public awareness of drought conditions respond similarly."
Note: The full report can be found at: www.nmhc.org/Content/ServeContent.cfm?ContentItemID=3242.
* * *
NMHC and NAA operate a Joint Legislative Program and represent the nation's leading firms participating in the multifamily rental housing industry. NMHC/NAA's
combined memberships are engaged in all aspects of the development and operation of apartment communities, including ownership, construction, finance and
management. Together, the organizations jointly operate a federal legislative program and provide a unified voice for the private apartment industry. Almost one-third of
Americans rent their housing, and nearly 15 percent of all U.S. households live in an apartment home. For more information, contact NMHC at 202/974-2300, e-mail the
Council at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit NMHC's web site at www.nmhc.org.
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