Kitchen References

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

August 1, 2008

Water Use It Wisely Homepage. 2008.

For a start, we took the family-water audit test offered here, to see how good we were at saving water. We flunked. If you’re like us, you may want to see what this site offers: over 100 tips on how to save water in and around the home. Examples of water saving tips include running a bath and plugging the tub before turning water on, then adjusting the temperature as the tub fills up; using food coloring to test for leaks in the toilet tank; bathing children together; and using a commercial carwash that recycles water, like Eco Car Wash in this section under “Car Wash.” There is a lengthy list of water saving plants for our area as well as links to other websites for water saving technologies such as waterless urinals, instant hot water heaters, and leak detection equipment. The site also offers educational tools and games that are fun for both children and adults. You can participate in the family water audit to measure how your family currently uses water and then use the site to make sustainable water choices for your particular lifestyle. Maybe next time we’ll pass the exam.

Water Saver Home. Homepage. 2006.

This site is a great hands-on tool for homeowners navigating through a model home and wondering how to save money on their water bill. Go to the website, click on “typical household objects”, and learn about water conservation and the applicable technology. Suggestions range from on-demand hot water system to greywater systems, rainwater harvesting, and to low, water-use gardens. Look here for advice and statistics on incentives plus rebates, benefits and costs, where to purchase equipment, maintenance, and handy installation tips.

Water Smarts. Ogorzalek,? T. 2003. Journal of Housing and Community Development. 60(4):24-29. (Journal article)

Water Smarts provides some shocking statistics of water use in the United States. For example, 24% of residential water is used for toilet flushing and 4.8 billion gallons a day are flushed. It is a huge water use but there are some helpful alternatives to the standard toilets installed in most residences, which suggests that we do not have to waste so much water. If you own an older home, consider the merits of upgrading to a more efficient system. A new kind of low-volume toilet was introduced in the 1980s that led to legislation requiring newer toilets to use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. The US EPA estimates that a three-person household can save $60 and 54,000 gallons of water annually when low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators are utilized.

A list of behavior modifications is included, which allows readers to easily identify areas for improvement:

  • Only run the dishwasher when full.
  • If washing something (dishes and clothes) by hand, fill a tub and use that rather than letting the water run continuously.
  • If you have to wash your car, turn off the hose between rinses.
  • Cover an outdoor pool when not in use.
  • Sweep sidewalks rather than hose them down.
  • Water the lawn at cool times of day (at night or very early in the morning) to lessen evaporation.

Water. 2008. Rocky Mountain Institute Homepage.

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s website offers advice and information on the following water topics:

  • Water-efficient fixtures & appliance
  • Landscaping and irrigation
  • Greywater systems, compost toilets, and rain collection
  • Wastewater treatment systems
  • Drinking water quality

Civil action: promoting water efficiency and protecting rivers

This site is comprehensive and useful. Regarding composting toilets, there is a warning to homeowners that many local jurisdictions are unfamiliar with the technology, and therefore do not have codes enacted — making it difficult to pass inspections. The Rocky Mountain Institute provides numerous links for further information on all of these important topics.

Products for Water Conservation. Green Home Building Homepage.

A good source page for information on water conservation products, Green Home provides links to suppliers or manufactures of:

  • Conservation Kits
  • Clothes Washers
  • Composting Toilets
  • Bathroom Fixtures
  • Grey Water Supplies
  • Barrels & Tanks

Check out this site to get ideas for your next home project.

West Coast Seafood Guide. 2006. Seafood Watch Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Access this handy guide for eating seafood throughout the year in Oregon (in the Appendix).  Drop-down menus explain how seafood is harvested, farmed versus wild fish, abundance of fish for the current month, nutritional aspects, and best-employed management practices. Fish existing in the healthiest habitats are not yet endangered: Abalone (farmed), Catfish (US farmed), Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed), Cod: Pacific (trap or hook & line-caught), Crab: Dungeness, Snow (Canada), Halibut: Pacific, Lobster-Spiny (US), Pollock (wild-caught from AK), Sablefish/Black Cod (AK, BC), Salmon (wild-caught from AK), Sardines, Shrimp: Pink (OR), Spot Prawn (BC), Striped Bass (farmed), Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed), Tilapia (farmed), Trout: Rainbow (farmed), Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole-caught), and White Seabass. The guide also lists alternatives when optimum choices are not available, as well as choices to avoid because of over fishing and other practices, including farming or the endangerment to other species. A small printout is available as a pocket reference in the Appendix. Sustainable sushi anyone?


Read more on this topic…

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