Did you know that unlike energy, the majority of water use comes from individual apartments rather than communal areas? While 35% of energy in a building is used privately, the rest going to communal lighting and so on, a whopping 85% of the water is used in single units. This means you have greater control of what you can save, meaning less resources and money wasted.
Unfortunately, most people who live in apartments don’t keep track of their water use. Water in most older apartment buildings is metered centrally by a single meter. This means that, for better or worse, costs for water use are shared amongst the owners. Renters may not see their consumption either, as their water bills are often covered by the owner.
The good news is that water savings can be made quite easily by adjusting your use and looking after leaking fixtures and taps, which are often the culprit.
According to Sydney Water, one leaking toilet with a steady stream can waste up to 18,175 litres per month or 220,000 litres a year! Water leaks become more significant as the building ages. It often only takes around 5 years of occupancy before significant leaks in larger buildings begin to emerge.
What can I do?
- Research from Sydney Water shows that almost 52% of water use in apartments is in the shower. Install water-efficient showerheads or flow controllers. Seems obvious, but shorter showers always helps
- Consider an efficient front-loading washing machine if you need to replace your existing one. Front-loaders use up to half the water and around 1/3 the energy of top-loading washing machines
- 3-star kitchen taps and showers and 4-star bathroom taps will save both water and significant amounts of energy through reduced hot water use. The WELS (Water Efficiency Labeling Scheme) star rating ensures the quality of the flow is maintained, despite the lower flow levels
- Whether you rent or own, it’s important to stay vigilant in reporting leaks to your building manager or agent
- If you own your apartment, talk to your strata committee about Sydney Water’s WaterFix program. It’s a plumbing service that can ensure all of the apartments in your building have their fittings in top shape, so you can reduce bills overall.