Posts Tagged ‘showerheads’

by Robin McKillop

If you’re a busy parent, you already know that it’s back-to-school time! While you’re gearing up for another great school year, don’t forget to encourage your child’s teacher to participate in MMWD’s environmental education programs. They’re fun! They’re free! They’re educational!

Last year, MMWD’s Water Wonders environmental education programs provided outreach to thousands of students at 48 public and private schools in Marin. Though our programs, students sang and danced at musical watershed assemblies, learned about local ecology and water supply by hiking at Lake Lagunitas, pretended to be water drops in a water cycle game, removed French broom from watershed lands, hatched trout eggs and released fish, worked to restore and protect habitats, searched for water leaks at their homes, replaced wasteful showerheads with new water-conserving ones, and created amazing artwork to celebrate MMWD’s centennial. Our fact sheet provides more information about our 2011-12 programs.

During the 2012-13 school year, MMWD is pleased to continue to offer high quality environmental education opportunities to schools in our service area. Our Water Wonders brochure provides detailed information about all of our programs. This year, we are especially pleased to offer free “Historical Highlights” posters in commemoration of MMWD’s 100th anniversary, as well as Water Quality Lab tours for high school science classes. If you’d like your child to participate in any of our programs, encourage your child’s teacher to sign up soon. As always, our programs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, free of charge. In addition, bilingual (English-Spanish) classroom presentations and assemblies are available.

MMWD’s Watershed, Water Conservation, Public Information, and Laboratory staff are looking forward to another great year teaching your children all about one of our most precious natural resources: water.

Read Full Post »

by Robin McKillop

California Youth Energy Services (CYES), in partnership with MMWD, is offering free Green House Calls for Marin homeowners and renters through April. Each visit includes an energy- and water-use assessment, plus a mini-retrofit with water-efficient showerheads, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), retractable clotheslines and more.

A program of the Berkeley-based, nonprofit Rising Sun Energy Center, CYES provides green job training for youth ages 15 to 22. This innovative program started in 2000, when Rising Sun taught a residential energy efficiency workshop at Berkeley High School. The students, inspired and empowered, decided they wanted to do more than just talk about climate change. They resolved to carry their newfound knowledge out into the community, and CYES was born. With support from the City of Berkeley, Rising Sun launched a pilot program which hired 15 youth. They managed, over a few weeks, to serve 300 homes with free energy and water conservation services. Since then, the program has grown exponentially, hiring and training 830 young people and serving 16,000 homes in Marin and the East Bay.

The youth are chosen for their enthusiasm, ability to work in teams, and self-motivation. They work in pairs composed of a minor and a youth aged 18 or over, so that there is always a legal adult on each assignment.

Over the past decade, CYES has evolved into a successful community-based green services program. It works alongside a number of other local programs to increase mutual benefits and referrals. Local partners include the East Bay Energy Watch and Marin Energy Watch Partnerships, as well as many of the water utility districts and municipalities in the Bay Area.

For more information about CYES, please visit the program website at risingsunenergy.org/content/cyes.html. To schedule your free appointment, contact Travers McNeice at mcneice@risingsunenergy.org or (415) 532-7566.

Read Full Post »

by Robin McKillop

musical water assembly

Students participate in a musical water assembly at Bahia Vista Elementary School

We are pleased to offer musical water assemblies at schools in our service area again this school year! The season kicked off November 21, with the first show at Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael. These lively and humorous musical performances are delivered in English and Spanish by ZunZun, an award-winning performing arts group specializing in environmental education.

This year’s show features a cup percussion piece that tells the story of water through the use of musical instruments. Students learn about the local origins of our water and the resources needed (like energy) to clean, treat and deliver it to homes and businesses. They also learn about California’s mandate to reduce water use by 20 percent by the year 2020. Recognizing the importance of outdoor water conservation, teachers don plant costumes that exhibit drought tolerant plant characteristics, like long roots and thick leaves, in a silly, easy-to-understand demonstration for students.

After the assembly, students may have the opportunity to save water at their homes by replacing wasteful showerheads with low-flow ones. Students are given simple instructions on a postcard to determine if they should replace their showerheads. If they need a new showerhead, MMWD provides one for free.  All participants receive a small prize for their efforts to conserve water.

So far, these schools have signed up for water assemblies this school year:

Bahia Vista, San Rafael
Tamalpais Valley, Mill Valley
Venetia Valley, San Rafael
Wade Thomas, San Anselmo
San Geronimo, San Geronimo
Coleman, San Rafael
Willow Creek Academy, Sausalito
Bayside, Sausalito
Lagunitas, San Geronimo
Laurel Dell, San Rafael
Glenwood, San Rafael
Sun Valley, San Rafael
Manor, Fairfax
San Domenico, San Anselmo
Strawberry Point, Mill Valley
Bel Aire, Tiburon

There are still a few slots available. Water assemblies are offered to schools in MMWD’s service area for free! Minimum attendance of 100 students is required. For additional information, please contact MMWD’s Water Conservation Department at (415) 945-1458.

Read Full Post »

by Keith Bancroft

Based on a recent survey of people within a 30-foot radius of my desk at work, most people associate October with dressing up in costumes and gluttonous consumption of candy. However, from my observations, this seems to be what they associate every other month of the year with as well. Oh, there are the odd few who know October as “Rhubarb Month,” “Feral Hog Month,” “Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month” or, my personal favorite, “National Sarcastic Awareness Month.” But did you know that, in addition to all these wonderful reasons to celebrate in October, it’s also National Kitchen and Bath Month?

As a partner in the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program, and in honor of National Kitchen and Bath Month, MMWD wants to remind everyone to look for WaterSense labeled faucets, showerheads and toilets when purchasing new plumbing fixtures. WaterSense labeled fixtures are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water than standard models while delivering the same rinse, spray or flushing power consumers expect. Over the last five years, American households have saved 125 billion gallons of water and more than $2 billion in utility bills by using WaterSense labeled plumbing products. For more information on WaterSense products, please visit the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense.

And for more information on “Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month,” visit www.thesquirrelloversclub.com/history.php.

Read Full Post »


by Shasta Phillips

When MMWD’s Water Conservation Department is deciding which showerhead to give out during our Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) surveys, occasionally I am asked to take home a few different high-efficiency showerheads for some real-world testing. How am I qualified to test these showerheads? For those of you who don’t follow competitive showering, here are some of my credentials:

  • Considered by many as a child prodigy of showering, I took my first shower at the age of one.
  • At age three, while many kids my age were splashing around in the bath with rubber duckies, I was showering at an 8th grade level. 
  • In 2007, I set the North American record for most efficient shower.   

Shower Testing Factors

Shower force, contrary to what the name implies, has nothing to do with Star Wars. It is, however, the speed at which the shower water contacts the showerer. One way to test shower force is to visually measure the straightness of the water stream. There’s an old saying in the biz regarding shower force: the straighter the stream, makes the shower supreme. (Okay, I actually just made that up, but maybe it will catch on.) 

Spray coverage is also very important. Spray coverage is the amount of measurable area wetted by the shower. Many people believe that the spray coverage is weaker here on the West Coast (due to the East Coast coverage bias), but fortunately this is untrue.

Shower force and shower coverage combine to give you another factor: perceived water volume. This is a measure of how well the showerhead can trick you into thinking you are standing under a Hawaiian waterfall.  

Manufacturers of efficient showerheads continue to amaze me with their ability to do more with less. New technologies such as infusing the shower water with air, amplifying the speed of the water, and controlling the size of the water droplets allow these new showerheads to give you great force, coverage and perceived water volume, all while saving you water and money. 

Savings Potential

Heating water is a very energy-intensive process. Reducing the water used in the shower will save you money on both your water bill and your energy bill. If an average family of four replaces their old showerhead with an efficient one, they can realize savings of up to $250 dollars annually on utility bills. That’s enough to buy half an iPhone!

What About Your Showerhead?

Unsure as to whether your showerheads are efficient or not? Well, through our Conservation Assistance Program, one of MMWD’s conservation specialists will test your showerheads and, if found to be inefficient, give you efficient models free of charge. Yes, free! Don’t even try to calculate the return on investment on that deal because I’m pretty sure it will involve dividing by zero. Also, while at your property, we can evaluate your irrigation, check for leaks, and give advice on other ways to save water and money. If you’re interested in having a free water-use evaluation at your home or business, please contact the Water Conservation Department at (415) 945-1523. 

If you’re interested in buying an efficient showerhead on your own, here is a website detailing some extensive efficient showerhead testing. Note: I am providing this link as a courtesy and do not ensure the accuracy of any claims made by said website (I always wanted to go to law school). 

And remember, with hard work and dedication you, too, can join the ranks of the showering elite.

Read Full Post »

by Robin McKillop

showerheadMMWD is pleased to launch a new showerhead replacement program for students, designed to save water and energy while empowering students to take conservation action!

During the 2010-11 school year, students at schools throughout Marin will be learning all about water through a fun, interactive water assembly, presented by ZunZun and sponsored by MMWD. ZunZun is an award-winning performing arts group specializing in environmental education. Bilingual (Spanish-English) assemblies are available. After the water assembly, each student will be given a postcard with instructions for testing shower flow rates at home. Students who complete the work and submit their results to MMWD will be given Niagara Earth Massage showerheads with 2.0 gallon-per-minute flow rates to replace high-flow showerheads. These high-quality showerheads feature an on/off switch, adjustable 9-jet turbo massage, consistent flow rate regardless of water pressure, and a non-removable flow compensator.

In the future, MMWD plans to introduce similar programs for students to reduce shower length and to inspect toilets for leaks. For additional information about MMWD’s Water Education Programs for students, please visit our website or contact MMWD at (415) 945-1458 or schoolprogram@marinwater.org.

Read Full Post »

by Keith Bancroft

WaterSenseShowerheads have recently joined the family of products covered by the WaterSense program. Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), WaterSense promotes water efficiency by helping consumers identify products and programs that meet strict water efficiency and performance criteria. According to the EPA, in 2009 WaterSense helped consumers save more than 36 billion gallons of water and $267 million on their water and sewer bills.

Showers account for a significant portion of indoor water use—almost 17 percent for the average home—so replacing a showerhead is a quick and easy way to lower your water use. In addition, using less hot water means less energy is needed to heat the water, thereby increasing your overall savings.

A WaterSense-labeled showerhead uses no more than 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm) —20 percent less than a 2.5 gpm “standard” showerhead. WaterSense showerheads must also meet performance standards to ensure that the showerhead not only saves water, but also provides a quality shower experience equal to or better than that of your old showerhead.

Currently, seven plumbing manufacturers offer a variety of WaterSense-labeled showerhead models. For more information, visit the WaterSense website or download the most recent list of WaterSense-labeled showerheads.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts