Money saving water efficient appliances

Showerhead

Making sure the technology in your home is water efficient is important but how do you know if you are putting your pennies in the right place? The good folk at the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) have compiled a report on the payback periods for common water saving devices in Victoria.

The research intended to understand the financial benefits of water efficient devices from the perspective of Victorian households. Both residential and commercial (small business) consumers have been considered in the study.

The technology options included in the report are:

  • toilets
  • showerheads;
  • washing machines;
  • dishwashers;
  • recirculators;
  • greywater systems; and
  • rainwater tanks.

The study shows that the best return on your cash comes from changing your showerhead to less than 9 litres per minute technology. This is useful to know as there are luxurious showerheads available now that are more efficient than the 9 litres per minute models commonly used in showerhead exchange programs.cistern weight

The savings vary between the city and regional areas. Water charges are significantly less in regional Victoria, increasing the payback period. Another major factor is the number of people in the household, these figures are calculated for a three person household, which is a bit over the average. A larger household will use more water and the payback period will be shorter.

The easiest technology upgrade was for people with an old 12 litre single flush toilet. By installing a cistern weight (pictured on the right) this can save cost of upgrading your loo, while still helping you reach similar water savings.

A summary of payback periods for different appliances based on a three person household in the city looks something like this.

Appliance
Payback period
Comment
Upgrade from single flush to 4.5/3 dual flush
Around five years
This is a reasonable business case for a significant investment with a long lifespan.
Toilet water saver device when used on a 12 litre old style toilet
About 8 weeks in the city
This is the least cost and best return option for the whole report, it only works on old toilets though
Composting toilet
At least 15 years
Showerhead upgrade from 10L to 5L/min
1 year
A three star showerhead uses 9L/min. Water savings estimated at $128 and gas savings $109. This is the best broadly applicable technology in the report.
Washing Machines
8 years
Using cold water machines makes a massive difference to the energy cost
Dishwashers
11 years
Dishwashers use little water and efficiency is not correlated to price
Hot water recirculators
Inconclusive – there was not enough technical detail to make te assessment.
The main issue is that the price of the recirculators does not reflect the amount of water saved, making it very hard to work out the cost benefit ratio.
Greywater systems diverting to garden
5 years
5000l rainwater tank plumbed internally
6 years

Not included in the report is a garden trigger nozzle which is another appliance that we recommend. Of course, great water savings don’t just come with installing water efficient technology but also by changing the way we use water.

You can download the full report, called “The economics of water-saving technology,” from the ATA website.

Are you surprised about any of the payback periods in the table above?

  • If we keep wasting our precious resources like water .When we are desperate for water in drought times we can only blame us users for not being efficient users Use then reuse what is left over like shower and washing water. Having Rain water tanks help to save in 2 ways one is from the rain the other at night is condensation of roofs.

    • Thanks Ron, you are quite right. One of the advantages of impervious roof run off is that it is more reliable than catchment runoff. research by Peter Coombes has shown that when rainfall drops by 50%, catchment runoff is reduced by 70% (because the soil is dryer, it takes more rain before there is runoff) but rainwater tank yields only drop by 30%. This would include heavy dew!

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