Water Conservation Gets Serious

Water conservation is a fact of life today. Ever since the 1970’s when we were putting bricks in the toilet tank there has been a focus on saving water in the bathroom. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 set a requirement that toilets not exceed 1.6 gallons per flush

Toto Drake II HET Toilet

Toto Drake II HET Toilet

(gpf), faucets not exceed 2.5 gallons per minute and shower heads not exceed 2.5 gpm (measured at 80psi). In 1998 the Department of Energy modified that to 2.2gpm (at 60psi) for faucets. These standards have been followed for years but today continuing pressure for water conservation is triggering changes in these policies at the local, state and national level.

California is now in the process of phasing in California Assembly Bill 715 which essentially requires that all toilets sold in the State be 1.28gpf by 2014. This change-over began this year, 2010, and requires that 50% of toilets sold this year be “High Efficiency Toilets” (HET). Fortunately the major manufacturers have been working on this for several years and there are now many models available that meet this standard and work very well. In fact we expect some manufacturers to phase out their 1.6gpf models completely by 2014. Already several models by Toto are available in 1.28gpf only.

The term “High Efficiency Toilet” comes from the EPA’s “Water Sense” program. This program makes it easy for consumers to recognize products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance or quality.  A “WaterSense” label means that a product has met the EPA standards for high performance at required conservation levels. These products include 1.28gpf toilets as well as faucets and shower heads with 1.5gpf flow rate.

In California 2011 brings the implementation of CalGreen, the first mandatory statewide green building measures. CalGreen refers to the California Green Building Standards Code which is administered as Part 11 of the California Building Code (see “Green Building in California Moves Beyond Voluntary Measures” – California Constructor Magazine). Among the new standards is a requirement for a 20% reduction of water use is all new commercial and residential construction. This requirement may spell the end of multi-outlet custom showers in California. In addition there are currently some indications that the U.S. Department of Energy may reclassify showerheads in a way that will result in a limit of one shower head per shower nationwide.

 While water conservation will continue to require consumers to make some changes it will not mean a loss of luxury in the bath. Companies like Hansgrohe, Toto, Alsons, Rohl and many others will continue to provide innovative products for today environmental requirements. We have working displays of many of these products and people are always surprised at how well low products really work. Come in soon and see for yourself!

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