October is Energy Action Month, a time to take simple actions to save energy and money on your utility bills. And one of the easiest places to take action to save energy—and water—every day is in your shower.

Many Americans know about the importance of saving energy and water. But few know about the drops-to-watts connection—that it takes energy to pump, heat, treat, and deliver the water we use every day. We turn on the bathroom lights and the shower without realizing how closely related water and energy are to each other.

If you want to save energy, as well as water and money, start with your shower. Showering is one of the leading ways we use water at home. The average family uses more than 13,000 gallons of water annually just for showering—or about 17 percent of your home’s indoor water use. That adds up to 40 gallons of water per family each day—or nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used each year nationwide just for showering!

That’s why EPA has also declared October Shower Better Month. By replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, the average family can save more than 2,900 gallons of water each year—the amount it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry. A WaterSense labeled showerhead can also save the amount of electricity it takes to power the average family’s home for 13 days and reduce their annual water and energy costs by more than $70!

WaterSense labeled showerheads are available in a wide variety of styles and prices. Most importantly, all models that earn the label must be independently certified for both efficiency and performance. So you can enjoy a satisfying spray while saving water, energy, and money—in other words, you will shower better!


American Standard was recognized with a Popular Science “Best of What’s New” award for its SaTo sanitary toilet pan designed to increase access to safe sanitation in Bangladesh. The SaTo (derived from “Safe Toilet”) is easy to use and inexpensive to produce, and incorporates local bathroom practices and other on-the-ground realities. 

“Imagine a world where no child dies needlessly from a lack of safe sanitation and where all people can live healthy, dignified lives.”   — Bill Gates, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

For every Champion toilet purchased in 2014 American Standard will donate one hygienic latrine pan to a family in Bangladesh.

 Flush for Good

Non-morning people, picture this: rolling out of bed, hitting a button on your iPhone, and dragging yourself bleary-eyed into the kitchen to find a freshly-brewed cappuccino waiting.

An App For Coffee
Top Brewer is a latte machine with an app. Hailing from Denmark, the product looks like a sleek curved faucet, but can spit out lattes and cappuccinos with just the right amount of froth. Users control coffee v. milk content via their phones. Maker Scanomat developed the technology and also roasts the beans. Price tag: $11,000

Unsafe methods to capture and treat human waste result in serious health problems and death. Food and water tainted with fecal matter result in 1.5 million child deaths every year. Most of these deaths could be prevented with the introduction of proper sanitation, along with safe drinking water and improved hygiene.

Improving access to sanitation can also bring substantial economic benefits. According to the World Health Organization, improved sanitation delivers up to $9 in social and economic benefits for every $1 invested because it increases productivity, reduces healthcare costs, and prevents illness, disability, and early death.

Read more about “Next-generation” toilets showcased at Gates Foundation

March 11 every year … everywhere

Plumbing is vital to global health

Imagine driving on a road that hasn’t been resurfaced in 60 years. Believe it or not, much of the pipe used to provide water to people across the city of Madison is at least 60 years old. Some pipes date back to the 1880s when Madison Water Utility was created.

Madison Water Utility provides safe and reliable water to more than 66,500 households, hospitals and businesses using:

  • 850 miles of pipe
  • 22 active wells
  • 7 pump stations
  • 5 water towers
  • 3 ground-level reservoirs

Madison is also the first city in the state to use water main relining technology, giving aging pipes new life at a lower cost than replacement.

Just consider some of the parameters of the Gates Foundation’s first Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: Create a “practical” toilet that is suitable for a single-family residence in the developing world. Make sure it takes in the bodily waste of an entire family and outputs drinkable water and condiments, like salt. And while you’re at it, make sure that the toilet is microprocessor-supervised and converts feces into energy. And all this has to cost just pennies per person per day. That’s some toilet.

The winner of last year’s contest invented a solar-powered toilet that converts poop into energy for cooking. Impressive — but each one costs $1,000.

ekocenterToday, more than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and approximately 2.5 billion don’t have adequate sanitation, making billions of people around the world vulnerable to disease and other development challenges.

To help provide communities in need with access to safe drinking water and other basic necessities, The Coca-Cola Company, together with DEKA R&D, and other critical partners including development banks, NGOs and companies, launched EKOCENTER™ – a downtown in a box – with the Slingshot™ water purification system  housed within the community center


Darn tasty water

It’s not every day that MWU employees stand before the Madison Common Council surrounded by cheers and applause. But it’s also not every day that the city is honored by the Wisconsin Water Association (WWA) for having the best-tasting water in the state.

Micah MacArthur displays the bubbler that he built in front of his house for public use in Riverwest

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