SPENDING a minute less in the shower would collectively save people in Scotland nearly £20 million a year on energy bills, according to a comprehensive report on how people use water in their homes.
The Energy Saving Trust’s At Home With Water report, published today, reveals that showering now accounts for the biggest household use of water across Britain, with two billion litres disappearing down the plughole each day.
Cutting 60 seconds off the time spent under the shower, which lasted seven-and-a-half minutes on average, would save Scottish households £19m annually on water and heating costs.
The study of 86,000 homes across Scotland, England and Wales also found homes north of the Border could save £51m every year overall by installing eco-friendly shower fittings to reduce water flow, not filling kettles with more water than needed and by limiting temperature settings on washing machines to 30C. Taking all three of those steps would save the average Scots home £22 on their energy bills each year, while households with water meters could save a further £13 on their water costs.
Duncan McCombie, Energy Saving Trust director, said: “When people think of energy use, they think of heating and lighting, running electrical appliances or filling the car with petrol. It’s all too easy to turn on the tap and not think about the consequences.
“But there is an environmental and energy cost attached to water which many people do not consider. On average, hot water use contributes £228 to the average annual combined energy bill. It’s clear we are all using more water-consuming appliances regularly, especially showers, but that doesn’t mean householders in Scotland are powerless to control their water use.
“By reducing the amount of water – especially hot water – that we use, we can cut down on the energy demands of our lifestyles, which have changed radically over the last 50 years.”
Use of water in Scottish households mirrored that across Britain where showering for a minute less would save £215m on collective energy bills each year (including Scotland).
Overall, showers accounted for 25 per cent of water usage in homes, while 22 per cent was used for flushing toilets.
A further 22 per cent of household water was used in the kitchen, for washing machines, dishwashers, kettles and taps.
Overfilling kettles cost Britons £68m a year – £6m in Scotland.
Scottish Water has launched a summer campaign to help customers save water and costs, including providing free shower timers and tips on its website.
There has been criticism of water firms in recent years over leaks which have wasted millions of litres across the country.
But Scottish Water defended its record. A spokesman said it was making “massive differences within its own business to reduce the amount of water produced and used. Leakage has been reduced by nearly 50 per cent since 2006.”