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Wash Post’s ‘climate solutions’ reporter touts taking ‘cold showers’: ‘You should embrace using cold water’ because ‘heating water’ leads to ‘more planet-warming emissions’

Why you should embrace using cold water, almost all the time – Heating water gobbles energy, leading to higher utility bills and more planet-warming emissions.

By  Allyson Chiu is a reporter focusing on climate solutions for The Washington Post. 

Excerpts: You may not be giving a second thought to setting your washing machine on the hot cycle, cranking your showers to a steamy temperature or scrubbing your dirty dishes under a stream of scalding water. … While there are home improvements that can help you cut back on the energy it takes to heat water, including installing a heat pump water heater, one easy solution is to switch to cold water.

 Washing with cold water can reduce your energy footprint even more. By washing four out of five loads of laundry in cold water, you could cut 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year, an amount equivalent to planting 0.37 acres of U.S. forest, according to the American Cleaning Institute.


Showering accounts for roughly 17 percent of the water Americans use in their homes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Your steamy showers also consume energy: Nearly half of a home’s hot water is used for bathing. A cold shower uses less energy than a hot one.

Jennifer Amann, senior fellow in the buildings program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group, said letting the tap run while you’re waiting for water to heat up results in water waste. She suggested that people think about how to minimize that.

“If you’re wasting cold water to get your hot water, then you’re really wasting both water and the energy resources,” she said. “Those energy resources still come largely from fossil fuels, and so they’re adding to emissions in the environment at a time when we really need to be doing everything we can to reduce carbon emissions.”

You should also rethink washing your hands with hot or warm water for the same reason, she added.


Related: 2013: Professor calls for ‘a planned economic recession’ to combat global warming –  Also admits ‘cutting back on washing and showering’ to fight climate change –‘That is why I smell’