Increasing energy efficiency may be more important than ever. The NRDC warns that global warming and water issues are becoming a central and un-ignorable problem. These are areas where energy efficiency may have life or death implications. While it’s easy to believe these issues do not affect the U.S. or are long term, new research shows that we have less time then we think. World Water Council warns that 1.1 billion people worldwide already lack access to water, and as the population continues to increase, so does the demand for water. It is also expected that by 2014, up to 36 states in the United States will be facing water shortages. Water shortages and poor sanitation lead to increases in disease and make agriculture difficult, impacting food supply. If water becomes unavailable in certain areas, it may lead to water wars: conflict between nations over water supplies.
As water becomes more precious in the U.S., we can all look for ways to save. That means not only thinking about when we turn on and off the tap, but considering our overall energy consumption. The most common forms of electricity production use enormous amounts of water. Clothes washers and dishwashers have the most direct impact, because the most efficient models use less energy and less water. For example, an average dishwasher uses approximately 4 gallons of water each load. The number one ranked dishwasher from TopTen USA, however, only uses 1.6 gallons per cycle cutting the water usage more than half. That means if you run your dishwasher once a day for 7 days, you’d normally use 28 gallons of water in a week. Switching to a more energy efficient appliance means you would only use 10.9 gallons, almost 1/3 of the water used by an average dishwasher.
Because energy production uses so much water, however, even switching out your refrigerator or computer can help in saving water. Check out the TopTen USA website for information on efficient appliances that have long term water- and energy-saving effects.