Running the hot water for five minutes burns as much energy as leaving a 60W light bulb on for 14 hours, according to Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute.
The shocking stat came towards at the end of his presentation on the entwined nature of energy and water at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.
It takes lots of energy to get water into your home–the aqueduct above uses 3,200 kilowatt hours to move an acre-foot of water (about 326,000 gallons) from Northern California to Southern California, or about 9.8 watt-hours per gallon. Once there, it takes energy to get it hot. Result: The California Energy Commission recently calculated that if they canceled a proposed energy efficiency program, and replaced it with a water savings program, they could save 95 percent of the energy for only 58 percent of the cost. So save your electricity bill and the planet: Lather quick.
For more reports from the annual AAAS conference, click here.