Two small steps that add up to big water savings

Third-graders hit the streets in their neighborhood to teach adults how to make their homes more water-efficient.

December 7, 2016 | By: Jay Adams

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can make the biggest difference. Just ask the people who live around Denver Green School.

This fall they opened their doors to third-grade students who taught them two simple and inexpensive ways they could save water.

Matt Bond shows Green School students how to save water with showerhead.
Matt Bond, youth education manager, explains how faucet aerators and showerheads can save water.

With a little help from Matt Bond, Denver Water’s Youth Education manager, the students went door-to-door to ask neighbors if they’d be willing to swap out their old sink aerators and showerheads for lower-flow, high-efficiency models.

“The fixtures are easy to install and can make a big difference in the amount of water people use in their homes,” Bond said.

“It’s fun teaching people about water,” said Ahnika Campagna, one of about 50 third-graders who hit the streets. “I like teaching adults new things.”

At the first home, students found a bathroom sink with a faucet that flowed at 2.2 gallons of water per minute. They installed a new aerator that only used a half-gallon per minute.

The next stop were the showers, each of which had 2-gallon-per-minute showerheads. The group swapped out the old ones for 1.5 gallon-per-minute fixtures.

“Most people don’t even know how much water their faucets and showers use,” Bond said. “By making these simple changes, this homeowner will end up saving hundreds — perhaps thousands — of gallons of water every year.”

Denver Green School teachers Julie Yonkus and Emily Detmer worked with Bond to develop the water education unit for their students. In past years, the kids went around the neighborhood and put up “Use Only What You Need” yard signs.

Green school student uses new faucet.
Students gained first-hand experience about how simple steps in the home can reduce water consumption.

“This year, we wanted to do something that was really hands-on and could made an immediate difference in the amount of water being used in our community,” Yonkus said. “This was a great way to take what we learned about water in the classroom and apply it in the real world.”

Homeowner Donna Pate appreciated the water-saving tips. “I had no idea there were so many simple things I could do to save water,” she said.

“We hope the students take what they’ve learned, hold onto that knowledge for the rest of their lives and share it with their family, friends and neighbors,” Detmer said.

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