The Water Challenge Chronicles – Alex, Week 3
In my last entry, I wrote about how, because of my current living situation, Im somewhat limited in the ways in which I can cut back on my water usage. Renting an apartment means I dont own any of my own appliances or have a yard, so many of the methods I see on these ‚ways to save water” lists dont really apply to me. I wrote a letter imploring my property management company to replace its antiquated washing machines with new, efficient models, but Ive yet to hear back from them.
So this week I thought Id talk about looking to the future, when I will hopefully own my own place and have a lot more personal choice in how much or how little water I use. This past Saturday afternoon, some friends and I checked out an eco-living tour in a DC neighborhood so we could learn about what some homeowners are doing to save water. As proof, here‚ me posing in front of one of the houses we visited. There were about a dozen open houses showing off solar panels, rain barrels, and other power and water saving devices.
We visited three of the houses on the tour and chatted with the homeowners at each about how they were using green technology to make their homes more efficient. At one house, the owner had installed evacuated-tube solar collectors, which absorb solar energy and heat the house‚ water. We got to go up on the roof and check out the tubes. The tubes themselves werent all that exciting, since they were, after all, just a bunch of tubes. But there was also a friendly lady up there (on a roof deck, not just perched precariously on the roof) making cakes in a solar oven, and she let us have a piece, which was delicious.
The last house we visited was the coolest, though. The owners (Ill call them the Johnsons- I didnt actually get their names, but repeatedly calling them ‚homeowners” sounds like Im writing for a real estate brochure or something) had a beautiful, tiered garden, several soothing fountains, and lots of lovely shade trees in their relatively small backyard, creating a peaceful, idyllic oasis in a crowded urban area. Best of all, they didnt waste any water on all the plants, trees, and fountains. Several large rain barrels, which were connected to the house‚ downspouts, collected all the rain that hit the roof, which supplied more than enough water for the Johnsons backyard. Mr. Johnson also told me about a device they hope to get at some point that collects moisture right out of the air and condenses it into high purity water.
It was great to see people going to such lengths to save water, and touring these houses made me want to buy my own place so that not only will I be able to take more control over my environmental impact, but Ill also get to create a really cool patio and garden.
Stay tuned for next week, when I write about my sure-to-be-disastrous attempt to install a water-saving showerhead (which Im buying with my own money, since my landlord isnt as nice as Jon‚, apparently).