Many people think of energy conservation as someone else’s problem — let other families worry about saving the Earth. Regardless of your beliefs about global warming, greenhouse emissions, and the world running out of fossil fuels, just about everybody’s ears perk up when the possibility of saving money enters the conversation. Whether you want to cut back on your water usage due to a dwindling supply or you just want to save money on your home energy and water bills, installing water saving plumbing fixtures can make it happen.

When many people think of water saving fixtures, they envision trying to rinse the shampoo out of their hair without enough water pressure, but we’ve come a long way since those days. In most cases you won’t even notice the difference in the performance of your water saving fixtures when compared to the old inefficient fixtures — at least until you get your monthly water and energy bills and then the difference becomes very obvious.

What types of water saving fixtures are available for residential use? You might want to start by changing your faucets, toilets, and shower heads. The EPA estimates that if everyone in the country changed their homes over to water saving fixtures, we might reduce our usage by 3 trillion gallons of water each year at a savings of about 18 billion dollars. That’s a lot of water and money! If you aren’t sure what fixtures are considered to be water saving, look for the WaterSense rating issued by the EPA or talk to your local plumbing contractor. WaterSense labeled fixtures are reported to be about 20 percent more efficient than conventional fixtures and perform just as well if not better.