On average, Americans use over 70 gallons of water a day per person, and government officials and green building advocates say this rate of water use is a cause for concern.
Much of that usage stems from bathroom activities. For example, water flows from a standard showerhead at 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), so a 10-minute shower (with the water running continuously) nets 25 gallons. Count the running water used while people are brushing their teeth or shaving and you get an idea of the magnitude of the problem. Fortunately, manufacturers are on the case, providing easy ways to save water.
“As water conservation has become more of a widespread concern, an increasing number of water-efficient shower-heads have appeared on the market,” says Brian Baratka, director of product marketing for faucets at Kohler in Kohler, Wis. “Now customers using these showerheads can feel good about not only doing something to preserve our most precious resource, but also something to contribute to their overall showering experience.”
Manufacturers who are serious about conservation are participating in EPA’s voluntary WaterSense program. WaterSense-certified products must meet minimum water efficiency standards and are then given a label to make it easy for consumers to identify those products.
“The goal of EPA’s WaterSense program is to help Americans save water and money by offering simple ways to reduce water use through water-efficient product choices,” says Sheila Frace, director of the EPA Office of Water’s Municipal Support division.
Kohler, a leader in water conservation and the EPA’s 2008 Manufacturer Partner of the Year, offers a variety of water-conserving plumbing products in lines such as Forté and Purist; Piscataway, N.J.–based American Standard offers bathroom lavatory faucets with a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gpm; and Olmsted, Ohio–based Moen offers showerheads that flow at 1.75 gpm.
“Our new low-flow showerhead,” says Moen’s wholesale brand manager Beth Allison, “makes it possible to relax and unwind with a long, hot shower and still have peace of mind.”