Guide To: Low-flow equipment, energy & water-saving devices, water filters
Marketplace Link: Green Stores
According to the EPA, 36 states are expecting water shortages within the next three years. Three-fourths of urban demand on the water supply is residential, so it's important for homeowners and renters to do what they can to save water. If you're shopping for a low-flow toilet, faucet aerator, or efficient showerhead, here are a few places to look.
ABT Electronics and Appliances (Illinois/Online): Although not strictly a green store, this online catalog and brick-and-mortar warehouse has a huge selection of Energy Star rated dishwashers, as well as water-saving models. Their helpful dishwasher buying guide explains that "American dishwashers use 4-8 gallons per wash. European models use 4-6 gallons. If you were to wash the same amount of dishes by hand [using running water], you would normally use 17 gallons of water or more."
Green Home Center (San Francisco/Online): This store has a good solar power department, where they sell energy-efficient Polar Solar Water Heating systems. They offer installation services, as well as free in-home water heating audits for people in the area.
GreenFeet (California/Online): This is a back-to-basics kind of green home store. You won't find a lot of gadgets, but you will find useful, inexpensive water savers like sink aerators and shower heads.
Eco-Wise (Austin/Online): Based in the hot and dry state of Texas, this green store does a good job when it comes to water-saving appliances. Their online selection is extensive, with categories for compost toilets, dishwashers, gray water recycling systems, tankless water heaters, washers and dryers, and water filters.
Green Depot (Various Locations/Online): This home hardware and renovation store's mission is to make green building materials accessible and affordable. Since 2005, they've opened a Manhattan flagship store, expanded to 10 distribution centers on the East Coast, opened stores in the Northeast and Midwest, and bulked up their online inventory. Green Depot's kitchen & bath aisles include a section dedicated to water filtration and conservation.
Greater Goods (Washington, DC/Online): This store is geared toward products that reduce energy, waste, and water use, and they have a good selection of water savers online. Look for low-flow products, from aerators (cheap hardware that improves the efficiency of your faucet) to dual-flush toilets.
Compact Appliances (Austin/Online): This online store specializes in appliances for small spaces. While not all of their products are green, they do have a large selection of energy-efficient tankless water heaters, which consume significantly less energy than regular water heaters.
Design Within Reach (Various Locations/Online): We usually think of this store as a source for mid-century furniture reproductions, rather than green design, but their Japanese charcoal pitcher is one of the best-looking water filtration designs we've seen. The system provides odor-free, mineral-rich water that encourages folks to drink from the (filtered) tap rather than buy bottled.
The Ultimate Green Store (Online): Reusable water bottles may not equate to the water or cost savings of some of these products, but they reduce a lot of waste in comparison to using bottled water or disposable drinking cups. The Ultimate Green Store has a lot of on-the-go products, as well as a section dedicated to bath and shower filtration.
Amazon.com (Online): As a giant online megastore, Amazon's not really green in and of itself, but it does stock a lot of kitchen and bath hardware. Search for "low flow showerheads," "low flow faucets," or "aerators" to find water-saving devices.