Did you know the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day? On a planet covered in water, you might assume there’s virtually an endless supply so it matters little how much you use. But, consider this: only 2.5 percent of the water on Earth is freshwater (the kind we need to survive) and only 1 percent of it is easily accessible. That means that only 0.007 percent of the water on this planet is available to meet the demands of a population of 7.4 billion. Water is an incredibly precious resource! One way you can help protect it is by reducing how much you use and one of the easiest ways to do that is by looking for the WaterSense label when you build, buy, or renovate your home. What does the WaterSense label mean? Here’s the 411 on this certification.
Created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2006, WaterSense makes it easy to find water-efficient products that have undergone independent certification that verifies and tests products for: conformance to WaterSense specifications, efficiency, performance, label use and more. WaterSense also labels professional certification programs and promotes professionals certified by a WaterSense labeled program.
WHAT DOES THE WATERSENSE LABEL MEAN?
According to the EPA, products bearing the WaterSense label:
- Perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts.
- Are 20 percent more water efficient than average products in that category.
- Realize water savings on a national level.
- Provide measurable water savings results.
- Achieve water efficiency through several technology options.
- Are effectively differentiated by the WaterSense label.
- Obtain independent, third-party certification.
LOOK FOR THE LABEL
The WaterSense label can be found on products for the home, including:
- Bathroom sink faucets and accessories
- New homes (Yes — entire homes! More on that below.)
- Weather-based Irrigation Controllers
The WaterSense label also appears on professional certification programs for landscape irrigation professionals.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU SAVE?
- Bathroom Faucets: WaterSense labeled faucets reduce water flow by 30 percent to 1.5 gallons per minute without sacrificing performance. Swap your faucets and save 700 gallons of water per year.
Image courtesy US EPA
- Toilets: According to the EPA, “toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption.” Replacing old toilets with WaterSense labeled models can save the average family 13,000 gallons of water each year.
- Showerheads: Showering accounts for nearly 17 percentof indoor water use. The average family could save 2,900 gallons each year by installing WaterSense-labeled showerheads. Plus, since they reduce the demands on your hot water heater, they also save energy — enough topower a house for 13 days.
- Irrigation Controllers: According to the EPA, residential outdoor water use in the US accounts for more than 9 billion gallons of water each day. Replacing a typical clock timer with a WaterSense-labeled irrigation controller can save nearly 8,800 gallons of water each year.
- Landscapes: Water used to maintain landscaping can account for 30–70 percent of a home’s total water use. WaterSense-labeled homes feature water-efficient landscaping and WaterSense-labeled irrigation systems (if one is installed). A WaterSense labeled new home must use the WaterSense Water Budget Tool to design a landscape based on a regionally responsible amount of water use.
WHAT’S A WATERSENSE LABELED HOME?
Image courtesy US EPA
All WaterSense labeled homes have been inspected and certified using WaterSense’s inspection protocol. Incorporating any of the criteria from the WaterSense specification will improve a home’s water efficiency, but only homes that have passed the full inspection and certification process can claim indoor and outdoor benefits, including faster hot water delivery; plumbing fixtures and appliances that perform better while saving water and energy; a low-maintenance, water-saving landscape; and up to $600 less in utility bills each year.