Looking for a way to start a water conservation program? Need to fulfill the require- ments for a green building
certification? WaterSense, a voluntary
partnership program by the EPA, is
ready to help.
Backed by third-party verification, WaterSense
certifies that any fixture or appliance bearing its logo
will perform as well or better than conventional models while reducing the flow rate or flush volume by at
More than 16,000 products are available, a number
that encompasses tank-type toilets, flushing urinals,
private-use lavatory faucets and faucet accessories,
and showerheads, as well as commercial pre-rinse
spray valves and irrigation controllers (the latter
can save roughly 15%, as they impact water use but
doesn’t use water themselves). An upcoming specification for flushometer-valve toilets will provide
even more certified options for water-conscious FMs,
according to the EPA.
Pairing WaterSense-labeled products with smart
Where to Begin
water saving strategies can help you conserve consid-
erable gallons and dollars. Get started with these tips.
Not surprisingly, the biggest waste is found in older
buildings with aging fixtures. Facilities that were
built before the Energy Policy Act of 1992 was passed
are likely to have older plumbing equipment that
uses significantly more water than even today’s non-
“Toilets installed before the implementation of
EPAct standards can flush as high as 3. 5 to 7 gal-
lons per flush,” the EPA explains. “Similarly, urinals
installed prior to 1994 can flush as high as 1.5 to 3. 5
gpf. Models that flush at 1.28 gpf or less for flushom-
eter valve toilets, per EPA’s draft specification, and
0.5 gpf or less for WaterSense-labeled urinals could
save significant volumes.”
An office building with 200 occupants could save
230,000 gallons of water and more than $2,000
every year just by replacing old flushometer-valve
toilets with models that flush at 1.28 gallons, the EPA
notes. Installing urinals that have been WaterSense-certified could save another 52,000 gallons.
Flush Out Water Savings
Chart the first step to savings by conducting a
facility assessment. This walkthrough is vital to
understanding how your facility uses water and
where you can boost efficiency to save money. “An
assessment involves creating an inventory of exist-
ing fixtures, equipment and systems to understand
where and how much water is being used,” the EPA
explains. “A facility water assessment is also helpful
for identifying leaks or other operational inefficien-
cies, which should be addressed immediately as a no-
cost or low-cost water savings project.”
Use the data you collect during the assessment to
create a water balance, a next step that estimates the
water use of every area and piece of hardware you
noted on your inventory. “Facilities can estimate water,
WATER-SAVING MAINTENANCE TIPS
Get the most bang for your buck out of your new WaterSense fixtures and systems
by keeping them efficient with maintenance. The EPA offers three easy tips to
maintain high performance.
Post signage encouraging building occupants to report leaks or any other malfunctions they notice so
they can be fixed immediately. Maintenance staff should also include restrooms on their daily or weekly
facility walkthroughs, but conscientious occupants may spot a problem before you get there.
Check the programming on faucets, toilets and urinals that use automatic sensors so you can avoid
double flushing or phantom flows. “Sometimes sensors are tripped too easily, resulting in wasted water,”
the EPA notes.
Use a dye tab on tank-type toilets to check for leaks. “If the dye is in the bowl within a few minutes, it’s a
sign of a leaky flapper,” the EPA says.