Most of you have heard of ENERGY STAR or have seen their label, but have you heard of WaterSense? WaterSense is the US EPA’s sister program for water efficiency, just like ENERGY STAR is for energy efficiency. The more you know about the program, the better you will like it.
The ENERGY STAR program has been hugely successful for the EPA. The program was established in 1992 under the Clean Air Act and has become one of the most recognized “brand” names in the US. The ENERGY STAR label is only awarded to the most energy efficient products, like appliances, and consumers frequently pay a premium to buy these “superior” products. In addition to product labeling, ENERGY STAR has programs for new homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants.
According to the ENERGY STAR website, “ENERGY STAR has grown to represent products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.8 billion sold since 1992. More than 1.5 million new homes and more than 22,000 facilities proudly carry EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification, use dramatically less energy, and are responsible for substantially less greenhouse gas emissions than their peers.”
Based on the success of ENERGY STAR, the EPA created the WaterSense program in 2006 to promote water efficiency. Water is a critical and precious natural resource, and the news recently about the drought in California and other parts of the country has raised our awareness on this topic. So a program to encourage people to save water makes perfect sense.
WaterSense product labels can now be found on many products around the home: showerheads, bathroom sink faucets and accessories, toilets, and weather-based irrigation controllers. Some new homes have even earned the label due to their water efficiency.
So how do they earn the label? WaterSense products are 20 percent more efficient than other products in that category. They are also performance tested to make sure they perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts in that category. This is a key requirement, because many of the original low-flow showerheads gave water efficiency a bad name. The water pressure from those was so low, many people couldn’t get the shampoo out of their hair or even rinse off soap suds. WaterSense products lower water usage, but also maintain the water pressure, so you still get a satisfying shower.
Look for the WaterSense label when you buy your next showerhead. It will save you money by lowering your water bill, and it will reduce your electric bill too by lowering your hot water use. If every household in America used WaterSense showerheads, it is estimated that we would save over 250 billion gallons of water per year, which is enough water for 2.5 million homes for a whole year. That makes a lot of sense – WaterSense!