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Project Drawdown


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Low-Flow Fixtures

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  • This article explores the importance of low-flow fixtures as one solution to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.
  • The article is brief, yet contains a clear message that low-flow fixtures also conserve freshwater resources.
  • The included data portrays the environmental and monetary benefits of replacing conventional water taps and showerheads with low-flow alternatives.
Teaching Tips


  • The information is presented in a step-by-step format, with a clear cause-and-effect framework.
  • Since the article is brief, teachers can create a one-day lesson with the information provided, or the data can become a starting point for a longer unit on how we can change our homes to become more environmentally friendly.
  • This article is useful for any discussion related to Earth's freshwater resources, human impact on the environment, or climate change, especially regarding the ecological impact of water usage.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers will need to define "low-flow fixtures" prior to assigning the article.
  • There is mention of wealth being a factor regarding adoption of new fixtures. Students in poverty may be affected emotionally.
  • Students may need support understanding the sidebar data.
  • Vocabulary is rigorous, so a definition list would be appropriate.


  • To introduce this article, teachers can engage classes in a discussion about the economic and environmental benefits of low-flow fixtures in their own homes.
  • For small-group instruction, students can work together on taking notes on each section and then discussing each section together.
  • Probability and statistics connections can be made in math classes, as there are a number of data points to evaluate about costs, benefits over time, and emissions reductions.
  • Students in English or language arts classes can use the article to evaluate author's purpose, scientific writing styles, or as practice for reading larger scientific papers.
  • Connections can be made in social studies classes as students discuss the effects of low-flow fixtures on both personal budgets and the Earth in general.
  • As an extension, teachers can encourage students to research other cost-effective ways to help the climate in their own homes, finding solutions in Project Drawdown's Table of Solutions.
Scientist Notes
This resource presents a scenario analysis for low-flow faucet and showerhead adoption by 2050. Two scenarios are examined; cost and GHG emission reductions are compared for each. This resource clearly shows that switching to low-flow fixtures is a win-win for consumers as the cost of adoption is low, operational savings far outpace the installation cost and GHG emission reductions are substantial. The authors chose only to consider electric water heaters in their analysis, though this would likely only change the results by a small amount. This resource provides a clear analysis that shows the efficacy of adopting low-flow fixtures on reducing carbon equivalent emissions and is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
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