water pouringDear Lazy Environmentalist,

How can I save water at home?

Many lazy environmentalists struggle with the admonishment to turn off the tap water when brushing their teeth, shaving or washing their face. Sometimes, it’s too much of hassle and sometimes we simply forget. Further, the notion of following the environmental bathroom code that goes, “If it’s yellow let it mellow” strikes many of those with even the best intentions as, well, distinctly unappealing.

Suppose there were a way then to solve the negative impacts of flowing faucet taps and flushed toilets? Say hello to the AQUS Toilet System, a compact device that captures and reuses the water from your bathroom sink for all of your flushing needs. Developed by Water Saver Technologies, the AQUS is a small, simple system that uses a 5.5–gallon container installed inside your sink’s vanity (or behind the wall or underneath the floorboards) to capture and filter water as it comes down the sink’s drain. The water is run from the container to your toilet’s tank with a small tube. Install the AQUS, and you’ll become a lazy hero of the planet though you’ll barely even notice that the device is there. Two people sharing an AQUS-equipped bathroom are estimated to save about 14 gallons of water per day, or 5,000 gallons over the course of a year. The system is available for $295 plus installation. Depending upon your local water and sewage rates, Water Saver Technologies estimates that it usually pays for itself within four to five years.

What about the used water (also known as gray water) from your kitchen sink, shower and dishwasher? While a bigger financial commitment than an AQUS, a whole-house grey water system single-handedly reduces a home’s indoor water usage by 30 percent by redirecting used water to all toilets. By law, a household grey water system can only collect used water inside the home to flush toilets; other uses are deemed unsanitary. Canada-based Brac Systems offers a residential system called the Brac RGW-250 ($2,149 at Aquaprosolutions.com), which is optimal for homes with up to six people. Depending on your location, a Brac system could be a wise investment. While the EPA estimates that the average U.S. household pays $523 per year in water and sewage bills, those costs spike in cities like Atlanta, Seattle and San Diego to well over $1,000 per year. In such cases, a Brac system starts to make both financial and environmental sense.

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Excerpted from Josh's latest book, "The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget."

Photo: jml5571/iStockphoto

See also:

How to save water

Ways to save water

How can I save water at home?
Here are two systems that can save you big bucks and conserve gallons of water.