Auto-shutoff Taps

While I know that this is not true in every flat at UEA, in most of the flats that I have visited at UEA the taps been the sort where the water automatically turns off about ten seconds after the button has been released. These auto shut off taps have been linked to sustainability time and time again in the past, and the link should be obvious. After all, how many times have you turned on the tap to brush your teeth, and then simply left it on the entire time? It’s usually not a conscious decision, but that extra two minutes of water flow causes millions of wasted liters every year.

I know that like many other students living in the student village I am often annoyed by the fact that I can’t have my hot and cold water coming out of the same tap, but this simple inconvenience actually represents another sustainability advantage of auto-shutoff taps. Essentially, because I do not want to scald myself with the hot water from the tap (it heats up quickly) I almost never use it. Using less hot water is a known energy saver, and the simple fact that I find it unpleasant to use the hot water in my bathroom sink potentially saves a huge amount of energy.

After thinking about this issue, I looked into ways that contractors and developers are advised to be more sustainable when the build new homes and places of business. One of the first things was that they were advised to use auto-shutoff taps. So while I find the auto-shutoff taps in the village to be very annoying, there is a silver lining in that they are actually saving a huge amount of water and energy. Luckily, it is in fact possible to have non annoying auto-shutoff taps. These usually involve motion sensors and a separate temperature valve on the side. While these don’t cause less usage of hot water, a convenient auto-shutoff tap that people actually use in the home will save a huge amount of water. They are very easy to purchase and install, and I highly suggest that people start getting them in their homes, because I have found that I actually do notice a significant decline in my water consumption with them.


“Sprays and Automatic Taps Standards V1.0.” « Sustainable Development in Government. DEFRA, 30 Mar. 2011..

“The DART Energy Research Programme.” Energy In Education. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, 2011. Web. .