Today we read the meters for the first time since moving into the flat. In our first month we’ve used 160 kWh of electricity, 9.1 m³ of water, and 81 m³ of gas. These are figures similar to those for my parents since we moved out, with the exception of the water usage. In the week since they had a meter installed, they’ve used only about one cubic metre of water. They decided to have a meter installed after we moved out as it would probably reduce their bills – we didn’t go onto a meter whilst I was there as they assumed my infamously long showers would lead to higher bills. It looks like they needn’t have waited – their non-metered bill was equivalent to 20 m³ a month – but at least they’re now benefiting from an 80% reduction in their bills.
So, how much do my showers contribute to our water usage? Well, I’ve just measured the water output of the shower as 2.3 litres in 15 seconds – there’s no flow control, so it’s a fixed rate. That’s 9.2 litres a minute, which is apparently better than average – modern showers usually output 10 to 15 litres a minute, whilst older showers are in the range of 20 to 60 - at the top end of the range, a three minutes shower uses about the same amount of water as a bath. My infamously long showers last up to 20 minutes, which works out as about 180 litres – once again, about as much as a bath. This is equivalent to 5400 litres a month, or 5.4 m³ - more than half of our monthly usage.
And so we arrive at Stage One of my plan to lead a more environmentally sustainable life: shorter showers.
Some figures for comparison:
- average electricity usage in this local authority area is 370 kWh per household per month (see http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file41499.pdf for a map showing usage for each local authority area)
- average gas usage in this local authority area is 1500 kWh (approximately 140 m³) per household per month (see http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file41498.pdf for a map showing usage for each local authority area)
- average water usage in England and Wales 9 m³ per two-person household per month (see http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/103601/i4_w_abst_p9_dt_461454.xls for an Excel file with the annual per-person trend)