Saving water directly is an important way to conserve, but did you know that electricity uses billions of gallons of water every year?
Coal-fired and nuclear power plants use water. LOTS of water.
In order to keep the power plant from overheating, utility companies pump in water to cool things off. The average coal power plant uses between 3500 and 28,000 gallons of water to produce a megawatt-hour of electricity. That adds up to billions of gallons of water every single year! When you use electricity, you’re indirectly using water, and by cutting your electricity use, you can help reduce water use at power plants.
How to Reduce Home Energy Use
There are all sorts of ways that you can use less power at home. Here are a few to get you started:
- Switch to compact fluorescent or efficient LED light bulbs.
- Turn off lights in rooms you’re not using
- Get a home energy audit to see where your home could be using less energy.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat.
- Unplug devices that run on “vampire power.”
- Consider using renewable energy at home, by installing solar panels or a solar water heater to replace a portion of your home’s energy use. (There are many other benefits to solar energy as well, of course.)
Of course, we can only do so much as individuals, but I’m a big believer that small changes can add up to a big impact!
The other major change that can help energy companies use less water is a switch to more renewable power sources. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy don’t have nearly the water footprints of coal and nuclear. If your power company has a renewable energy program, I think it’s really important to vote with your dollar and buy in.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Orange Steeler