By Karen Wirth, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Not that many years ago, if you hoped to do the right thing by installing a low-flow fixture to save water, you might have regretted it. With a head full of shampoo in the morning, kids clamoring for breakfast, work looming, and water pressure waning, low-flow showering was the worst.
That’s why, in 2006, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created WaterSense® as a label for high-efficiency plumbing products that not only use less water, but work as well (or better!) than their water-guzzling counterparts. What’s more, we require products that earn the label to be independently certified to our rigorous criteria for both water savings and performance.
Take showerheads, for example. EPA requires WaterSense labeled models to be tested for both spray force and water coverage, so you can count on a satisfying shower. And you won’t only save water—you’ll use less energy to heat that water. In other words, you’ll shower better.
Just how much can you save when you shower better?
If you take an eight-minute shower, you’ll save four gallons of water, and the amount of electricity it takes to light a 60-watt bulb for eight hours every time you shower. For the average American family, replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model can save the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry every year and enough energy to power their home for 13 days, all while reducing annual water and energy costs by more than $70!
Showering is one of the leading ways we use water at home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. For the average family, that adds up to about 40 gallons per day—nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used nationwide each year just for showering. If every U.S. home replaced its showerheads with WaterSense labeled models, we could save more than 260 billion gallons of water across the country annually.
So let go of the “low-flow” mentality and use a little WaterSense instead.
This October is Energy Action Month, so why not take action to shower better?
WaterSense labeled models are available in a wide variety of styles and price points, so whether you are doing a full bathroom remodel or just looking to make a simple change for the better, look for the label and start saving with satisfaction.
Karen Wirth is EPA’s WaterSense marketing and outreach coordinator. Ms. Wirth has worked in a variety of program areas at EPA, focusing over the past 17 years on water issues. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and biology from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.
What else you can do to save water…
Listen to this Green Divas What You Can Do series about water conservation to learn more about saving water in your home, indoors and out: