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Increasingly, managers specifying products for plumbing retrofits also must take into account whether the product in question has earned a label or certification from numerous agencies and organizations that offer them for products that meet sustainability mandates. For example, the WaterSense label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assures managers a product meets the EPA's water-use guidelines. The WaterSense label on a toilet flush valve means its flow rate is 1.28 gpf. To earn the label, an independent firm tests and certifies a manufacturer's product.
The EPA's website lists products that meet WaterSense guidelines, so a manager can quickly get an independent verification the product under consideration will perform satisfactorily in terms of environmental responsibility. Managers also can use various calculators for tabulating water and energy savings — a valuable resource for selling the upgrade to facility executives.
Simply knowing where a facility's water dollars are going is very useful information for managers. A good conservation program not only accomplishes this but also reveals opportunities to reduce water use.
Combining this information with the proper selection and installation of certified products for retrofits yields savings in both water and energy use. Upgrading institutionalizes the savings so they occur annually.
Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the Work Management Division of Westerkamp Group LLC, www.westerkampgroup.com.
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