Appliance buyers have long looked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR® label as a guide to choosing the best performance at the highest efficiency.
The WaterSense label, also from the EPA, delivers the same to service to consumers of water-using products, including toilets, faucets and showerheads. All products bearing the WaterSense label must be tested and certified to ensure they meet EPA water efficiency and performance criteria. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfactory consumer experience that is equal to or better than conventional products on the market.
High-efficiency toilets with the WaterSense logo must be able to flush at least 350 grams of soybean paste with at least 20% less water than the current standard maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). To earn the WaterSense mark, toilets must have a chemical-resistant flush valve flapper or seal to prevent leaks over time.
High-efficiency lavatory faucets bearing the WaterSense logo have a flow of no more than 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 60 pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure. They must also have no less than 0.8 gpm at 20 psi of water pressure to ensure they provide adequate flow for handwashing.
Showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gpm at the allowable flow rate. In addition to the water-efficiency criteria, WaterSense-labeled showerheads must meet three key performance attributes that were identified through consumer testing:
- spray force,
- spray coverage, and
- flow rate across a range of pressures.
Maximum allowable flow rates are important for conserving water. Minimum allowable flow rates are important for ensuring consumer safety and reducing the risk of thermal shock. WaterSense-labeled, high-efficiency showerheads can save at least 20% compared to standard fixtures, resulting in a potential savings of more than 2,300 gallons per household per year.
For a list of WaterSense-labeled toilets, faucets and showerheads, please visit EPA's WaterSense website.