Watts the Connection to Water?

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Carey Guerin
Sustainability University

World Water Day this Friday and Earth Hour this Saturday. It’s a good time to stop and think about the “energy-water nexus.”

The what?

It’s the connection between water and energy.

It takes energy to move, heat and treat our water. Or, it takes a lot of water to make our energy. The two are bonded together. While many of us are mindful of the water we use in our showers, sinks, tubs and toilets, that is only about 10% of the water used on our behalf.

Consider …

• On average, it takes 37 gallons of water to make one cup of brewed coffee. That is the equivalent of taking one 15 minute shower with a low-flow fixture.

• It can take anywhere from 10,500 – 42,000 gallons of water to make a computer. That is the equivalent of a very clean person.

• Most large office buildings use water in cooling towers in their HVAC system to cool the building. This system alone can account for between 15 and 50 percent of a building’s water use.

Of course I’m not saying to stop using computers, stop drinking coffee or stop cooling buildings. Instead I’m asking for you to take a moment and honor the natural resources, the unsung heroes, that make our modern life fun, comfortable and delicious.

Celebrate World Water Day by honoring Earth Hour. Celebrate Earth Hour by honoring World Water Day.

When you conserve water, you save energy. When you conserve energy, you save water.

Learn more in The Green Blue Book by Thomas M. Kostigen.

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