Live Green Indoors

The water inside our homes connects us with all parts of the water cycle, from the Sooke Lake Reservoir to the Salish Sea. Though the winter months bring periods of high rainfall, water remains a vital resource for our region. Living green indoors is just as important as living green outdoors!

From kitchen taps to toilet bowls, how we use and treat water inside the home can limit pollution and waste. 

Together we can Live Green and build a vibrant, livable, and sustainable region.

This winter and spring, consider the following actions to protect and conserve water in your home:

1. Limit tap time and check for leaks

Turning the faucet off while you are lathering soap, brushing your teeth or shaving is part of living green. Strive for five-minute showers to reduce up to 10,000 liters of water per year! In the kitchen, scrape your dishes into the compost bin and plug the sink when handwashing to avoid leaving the water running. To maximize water savings, fill the dishwasher and run full loads rather than washing dishes by hand.

Checking for water leaks regularly is also an important step for changing your water saving habits. Water leaks can account for 14% of indoor water use due to leaky toilets, faucets, and showerheads. Simple and inexpensive repairs can prevent our drinking water from being wasted. Repair any leaky fixtures and check your toilet with a dye tab once a year for undetected leaks.

2. Prevent clogs from Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

Each year almost one million kilograms of fats, oils and grease (FOG) makes its way down drains and into the sewer system of the capital region. Once there, it clogs treatment screens, causing sewage backups, overflows and odor problems. Even with advanced wastewater treatment, what you put down the drain matters.

Part of living green is using your green bin! FOGs, including mayonnaise, salad dressing and nut butters, should be scraped into the green bin instead of the sink. Large amounts from frying or cooking oil can be dropped off directly at Hartland Landfill. 

    3. Use drain-friendly house cleaners

    Many household cleaners and solvents are hard on the environment, and once dissolved in water cannot be removed by treatment processes. This means that anything that goes down a drain inside our homes can end up in the ocean or in our groundwater. Whether you're connected to sewer or on septic, what you put down the drain makes a difference.

    Fortunately, it is easy to live green with environmentally-safe and inexpensive alternatives to most household cleaners. Lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar are just some of the natural products used in recipes you'll find in the Clean green Cookbook, which features drain friendly cleaners.  

    4. Know what not to flush

    Unflushable waste is any kind of waste that is flushed down the toilet but shouldn’t be. This practice can lead to blockages in the sanitary sewer system and impact the health of our waterbodies by causing sewage to overflow into the environment.

    Wastewater can’t be treated when it doesn’t get through to our region’s treatment facilities. Live green by learning more about unflushables and teaching others!

    5. Choose high efficiency fixtures and appliances

    When you are looking to do a renovation, or looking for ways to live a bit more green, consider replacing outdated and inefficient water fixtures in your home with high-efficiency models. Increasing the efficiency of your home will save water, energy and money. Older showerheads have flow rates as high as 20 liters per minute (L/min) compared to new showerheads using between 5.6-7.6 L/min! A family of three can save about 11,000L of water a year by installing a high-efficiency showerhead. Look for the WaterSense label on fixtures to identify water-efficient products.

    If you are looking for a new home appliance, like a dishwasher or washing machine, consider a high-efficiency appliance with ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient product specifications. ENERGY STAR® washing machines use up to 40% less water, 50% less energy to dry clothes as more moisture is spun out and less detergent.