In an effort to promote conservation of water in residences and businesses, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the WaterSense Program in 2006. This national program certifies fixtures for indoor and outdoor use that consume significantly less water than the federal minimum.
Although the program is voluntary on the federal level, nine states have implemented stricter water efficiency standards for plumbing fixtures, and others are sure to follow. For example, the Illinois Administrative Code was amended in late 2014 to include a requirement that stipulates new and replacement plumbing fixtures need to bear the WaterSense label. The amendment has not been adopted into the state’s plumbing code yet—it is expected to be included in the next revision—but many local municipalities, such as Naperville, already have begun enforcing the water conservation method.
As more and more projects will call for WaterSense labeled fixtures, the EPA recently released a final specification for the flushometer-valve toilet that meets the 1.28-gallon-per-flush (gpf) requirement. A flushometer-valve toilet consists of two main components—the toilet bowl and the flushometer valve—and typically are found in commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities.
Flushometer-valve toilets with the WaterSense label provide 20 percent savings over the federal standard of 1.6 gpf, promoting water conservation that leads to lower water and wastewater bills. According to WaterSense, a 10-story office building with 1,000 occupants could save nearly 1.2 million gallons of water and nearly $10,000 per year by replacing inefficient flushometer-valve toilets with WaterSense labeled models. To safeguard against plumbing systems functioning ineffectively, WaterSense also has included a minimum flush volume of 1.0 gpf.
To discuss how water-efficient standards could affect your project and how to realize significant water savings through smart plumbing design, contact an expert at RTM.