An energy-efficient water heater

Photo: Jessica Sain-Baird

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Heating Water in Your Home
According to Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert's Water, installing a water-efficient toilet, using a low-flow tap and using a low-flow showerhead can reduce your overall water consumption by about 25 percent. Reducing the amount of water you use in the bathroom will not only help drop your utility costs, it will also show up in lower electricity bills.

The Department of Energy says heating water is the third-most energy-consuming activity within our homes. As I detailed in my energy post, using less water overall results in heating less water, thus saving more energy. By insulating your hot water heater with these step-by-step instructions and lowering its thermostat to 120 degrees, you will improve your energy efficiency without effecting your morning shower.

Another great option that will reap you a federal tax credit for consumer energy efficiency for 30 percent of costs up to $1,500 is a tankless, or on-demand, hot water heater. The heater is tiny and warms water only when needed rather than storing it in a massive tank. One of my favorite resources during this green home process has been Green Building Supply in Fairfield, Iowa. They were my starting point for research on tankless hot water heaters and recommended a Takagi. This advice was echoed by my plumber and through high-performance scores by Consumer Reports. Takagi has been making these products since well before green was the latest trend, and they were the first company to introduce tankless hot water heaters to North America. Their products are made from 95 percent recycled materials and are 35 to 50 percent more efficient than a conventional hot water tank. Like Moen, they are committed to a culture of sustainability, making sure that going green isn't just a tip or a tagline, but a way of looking at the world and using resources differently.

Now take a look at the rest of the loo! 

Simran

Simran Sethi is an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. For more information on Sethi, visit SimranSethi.com and follow her on Twitter @simransethi.
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