Programs + Standards

Published on May 21st, 2008 | by Joel Bittle

4

WaterSense: The New Symbol of Water Conservation

wslabel.jpgGet to know this symbol because chances are it’s going to be as ubiquitous as the blue star of EPA’s other conservation program, ENERGY STAR. Launched in 2006 the EPA’s WaterSense program seeks “to enhance the market for water-efficient products and services by building a national brand for water efficiency.” Viewed mainly as a program for water-only products like toilets, faucets, and irrigation systems, WaterSense does not include appliances, like dishwashers or clothes washers, that use both water and energy – those remain under the ENERGY STAR program. In 2007, the EPA released WaterSense specifications for high efficiency toilets and high efficiency bathroom sink faucets. They also offer certification programs for several irrigation professionals, include golf course irrigation auditors. Specifications for showerheads are in the works.

WaterSense is about to become very popular in the green building community. In their proposed changes to the LEED programs, the US Green Building Council removed some specifications for water saving credits, replacing them with, “WaterSense-certified fixtures and fixture fittings should be used where available.” It’s much easier to check for the WaterSense label than it is to gather the specifications for every fixture.

WaterSense labeled bathroom faucets, at a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute, reduce water consumption by at least 30%. WaterSense labeled high efficiency toilets, with a maximum of 1.28 gallons per flush, use at least 20% less water than standard 1.6 gallons per flush toilets. The EPA has claimed that if every home in the US switched to WaterSense labeled fixtures, we would save 60 billion gallons of water a year.

Though some companies were already offering fixtures compliant with the WaterSense standards, they are only recently getting literature out to the public about their WaterSense labeled fixtures. Expect to see it popping up everywhere.

Other articles on water conservation:

edit (5/27): Updated WaterSense symbol




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About the Author

Joel Bittle is the director of RSI Green, the green building division of RSI Kitchen & Bath in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a member of the St. Louis Home Builders Association Green Builders Council. Joel has worked to bring in and promote green kitchen and bath products in the St. Louis area. Originally from California, Joel taught high school English in San Francisco and St. Louis before splitting his time raising his two daughters and developing RSI Green. Joel writes about his experiences as a stay-at-home dad in STL Homeboy



4 Responses to WaterSense: The New Symbol of Water Conservation

  1. Gavin Hudson says:

    Wow, this is great. Why do I think of Captain Planet? (Electricity… Water… our powers combined, we are Home Energy Efficiency!) It’s probably just me… :)

    Anyway, this is a really interesting new step toward industry standards on water efficiency. Good news. Thanks for the article.

  2. Gavin Hudson says:

    Wow, this is great. Why do I think of Captain Planet? (Electricity… Water… our powers combined, we are Home Energy Efficiency!) It’s probably just me… :)

    Anyway, this is a really interesting new step toward industry standards on water efficiency. Good news. Thanks for the article.

  3. Pingback: Build Your Ultimate Green Kitchen | Go Green Living

  4. Pingback: Hansgrohe to Bring Simple, Compact Grey Water System to U.S. : Green Building Elements

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