Today’s consumers are more likely to be interested in environmental issues than in previous years. A growing number of people are more conscious about how much of the planet’s resources they’re using in their everyday lives and are looking for ways to make less of an impact on the planet whenever possible.
As a plumbing contractor and business owner, you no doubt run into customers who have their eye firmly placed on the bottom line whenever you give them a quote. For them, budgetary considerations are an important factor when making a decision about when to update or have an upgrade performed at their home or business.
Customers in both categories can benefit from being introduced to WaterSense. This program was also designed to benefit both the environment and consumers.
What is WaterSense?
WaterSense is a partnership program instituted by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Its purpose is to protect the future of the water supply by offering people a way to conserve water through the use of water-saving products and services. It promotes the benefits of water efficiency.
WaterSense also gives consumers ways to save water by labeling water-saving products and as an expert source of information to help them use their water more efficiently. It encourages manufacturers to be more innovative in their use of this important resource. WaterSense works to decrease overall water use and lower demand on available resources and infrastructure.
How WaterSense Benefits Consumers
The WaterSense program’s goal is to help consumers make the best choices about water that will help them save money and preserve high environmental standards. Both of these goals can be achieved without compromising performance.
The WaterSense Label
To receive a WaterSense label, a product or a service must be certified to be a minimum of 20 percent more efficient without affecting performance. Products earning the label must also perform either as well or better than less efficient counterparts on the market. Consumers must be able to see measurable savings results by choosing the product over one that doesn’t have the WaterSense label. The product must have obtained independent, third party certification of its water efficiency.
When consumers nationwide upgrade to more water-efficient products, they have the potential to save billions of gallons of water over the course of a year. Even adding a WaterSense-labeled aerator and choosing to upgrade to a WaterSense-labelled faucet could allow a single household to save 11,000 gallons of water over the lifetime of the faucet.
Where to Find WaterSense Labeled Products
The WaterSense label can be found on a number of common home products and appliances.
A standard shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. To qualify for the WaterSense label, a water-saving model must be able to provide the user with an acceptable water pressure level using no more than 2 gallons of water per minute. The shower head must be equal to or better than conventional shower heads on the market.
An average family could save 2,900 gallons of water by using a WaterSense-labelled shower head. They will also save energy by reducing their demand on hot water. The average family would save more than 370 KW hours of electricity each year. This is the equivalent of enough electricity to power an average home for nearly two weeks!
Choosing a WaterSense bathroom sink faucet that uses a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute means that a homeowner can reduce the standard flow by approximately 30 percent while keeping performance levels intact. All products that carry the WaterSense label have undergone an independent certification process to ensure they meet EPA criteria. The faucets and accessories must demonstrate that they are water efficient and can still provide ample flow.
When older faucets and aerators are replaced with WaterSense models, the average family can reduce their water consumption by approximately 700 gallons of water each year. This amount of water is equal to the amount that would be needed to take 40 showers. These water savings also reduce the demand on the family water heater annually by about the amount of energy it would take to run a hairdryer for about 10 minutes per day for one year.
The toilet is probably the main source of water use in the home. As much as 30 percent of the average home’s indoor water use can be linked to this appliance. Older, inefficient toilets can use as much as six gallons per flush, meaning they can also be a significant source of wasted water.
The latest models of toilets use about 1.28 gallons per flush or less without compromising performance. This is 20 percent less water than the current federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush.
Replacing older model toilets with a more efficient WaterSense-certified model can help a family of four reduce their water usage by 20 to 60 percent, which is close to 13,000 gallons per year. This adds up to about $110.00 each year in water costs and $2,200.00 over the lifetime of the toilet.
Make a point of educating yourself about WaterSense so you can make recommendations to your customers about their options when upgrading or replacing a faucet, toilet or shower head. Since most consumers are interested in saving money and the environment, you can be an important source of information for them. Your customers will trust your recommendations in products that can give them these types of benefits.