Plumbing Savings: Focus on Fixtures

  August 3, 2011

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, water conservation and plumbing fixtures.

Restrooms, locker rooms and other areas with plumbing fixtures offer obvious opportunities for water conservation in institutional and commercial facilities. Besides scheduling regular inspections of these areas for leaks, managers need to consider retrofitting restrooms with more water-efficient plumbing fixtures. This strategy can result in significant water savings, as well as reduced energy costs from the decreased need to heat the water to supply sinks and showers.

Tank-type toilets, flush urinals, and showerheads that carry the WaterSense label issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models. WaterSense-labeled faucets and faucet accessories use about 30 percent less water than standard lavatory faucets.

As with all WaterSense-labeled products, each model has been certified to meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense-labeled lavatory faucets and faucet aerators are intended for installation in private restrooms, such as those found in hotel guest rooms and hospital petient rooms.

In public restrooms, including those in transportation facilities, commercial office buildings, food-service facilities, and military facilities, managers should consider installing faucets with a maximum flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute.

Managers still uncertain about the payback of such tactics can consider this: A 100-employee office building that installs WaterSense-labeled flush urinals can save 26,000 gallons of water annually, based on an average of two flushes per day.


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