Homes in the US are becoming more efficient all the time. Many of these changes are voluntary “sustainable” type changes but others are mandated by the government. The EPA administers these programs and encourages manufacturers to develop and promote efficient products.
When the products meet the standard, they can bear the applicable label. For example, when the product is an electrical appliance, such as a HVAC system with a sufficiently high SEER rating, it can wear the Energy Star label.
Plumbing products that consume water conforming to EPA standards are eligible to bear the WaterSense label. Toilets are a big focus with this program because they are the single plumbing fixture that uses the largest quantity of water in the typical American home.
Toilet Water Consumption
The EPA estimates that toilets are responsible for thirty percent of the typical homes water consumption. Older style toilets used approximately 6 gallons for each flush.
The “low-flow” toilet model was the first attempt by the industry to lower that amount of consumption. Unfortunately, in many cases they were not satisfactorily efficient, requiring a double-flush.
Just another case of the government trotting out new mandatory standards before adequate case studies were performed, right? The newer models that have earned WaterSense label have solved that problem by setting higher performance standards while lowering consumption to 1.28 gallons or less.
Homeowners that incorporate these commodes will not only use less of the precious potable municipal water supply but will also save on water bills. A good time to step up to the new standard is when you begin to experience toilet leaks.
For further savings, when replacing other plumbing fixtures such as bathroom faucets, shower heads, and even irrigation controllers, look for the label on them as well.
Requirements for the WaterSense Label
The manufacturer must provide the EPA with independent certification.
The fixtures demonstrated performance must be as good or better than non-label fixtures.
The consumption must be a minimum of 20 percent better than the average fixture.
The fixture must realize water savings using specified technology options.
The product must obtain independent, third-party certification.
Must provide measurable water savings results.
For manufacturers to use the label, they must sign a WaterSense partnership agreement.
Types of Plumbing Fixtures that Can Wear the Label
New homes, if all the fixtures comply with the above requirements.
Weather-based irrigation controllers.
Bathroom sink faucets and accessories.
Obviously, if you shop with the WaterSense label in mind like you do with the EnergyStar label, you are going to save money and help the environment in the long run. As an added benefit, these superior fixtures will be reflected in your home equity.
If you have any experiences with these fixtures, either positive or negative, please share them with our readers in the comment section below!