Indoor Water Conservation

DEFINITION
CONSIDERATIONS
COMMERCIAL STATUS
IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
GUIDELINES

Typical Residential Water Use

Showers and Baths – (20%)
Potable Uses – (9%)
Clothes and dishwashing – (16%)
Toilets – (19%)
Lawns and gardens – (36%)


CSI Numbers:

151 141
152 148
152 180


DEFINITION:

The indoor water conservation items that are discussed are toilets, showers, and faucets.


CONSIDERATIONS:

Indoor water conservation products that meet and exceed code requirements are readily available locally and by mail order. Some studies have indicated that there is not a direct relationship between the price of a water conserving fixture and its ability to provide good service. Therefore, do not use price as a benchmark for quality or performance.

It is important to choose quality products that have standardized replaceable components for best long-term performance. New products are being introduced continuously and it is advisable to review independent research such as Consumer Reports for updates on the performance of the new products.

Indoor water use can be impacted significantly through water appliance selection. Different models of laundry washing machines and dishwashers vary greatly in the quantity of water needed. The Green Builder Program recommends horizontal-axis washing machines and water conserving dishwashers. (See Energy Efficient Appliance in the Energy Section.)

Devices that divert and capture water that is normally lost waiting for hot water can be useful if long pipe runs from water heaters are present. However, it is best to minimize such long pipe runs through careful planning in the plumbing layout. This saves materials and cost as well as water.

Personal water use habits ultimately influence the effectiveness of water conserving fixtures and appliances.

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Faucet green green green green green green
Shower green green green green green green
Toilet green green green green green green
green Satisfactory
yellow Satisfactory in most conditions
red Satisfactory in Limited Conditions
black Unsatisfactory or Difficult


COMMERCIAL STATUS

TECHNOLOGY:

Products that meet and exceed the water conservation standards of the building code are readily available and perform well.

SUPPLIERS:

Abundant

COST:

Competitively priced in all styles.


IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

FINANCING:

Available.

PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE:

Good to excellent, provided product performance is satisfactory.

REGULATORY:

Products sold for the above uses must meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for flow rates. The current standards require 2.20 gallons per minute (GPM) or less for faucet flow at 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). Shower head flow must be less than 2.50 GPM at 80 PSI. The toilet water usage must not exceed 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF).


GUIDELINES

The use of the highly conserving fixtures does not entail out-of-the-ordinary installation considerations unless air-assisted toilets or composting toilets are used. (See the Composting Toilet Section.)

Infrared sensor operated faucets are available. They are very costly.

Placement of the water heater as close as possible to the point(s) of use for hot water will conserve water that is lost while waiting for hot water to come from the tap. Approximately 8,000 gallons in the average household is lost in this manner.

Some devices are available to divert the water while waiting for hot water. The diverted water is then used for toilet flushing or outdoors. Point of use water heaters reduce water losses from waiting for hot water as do recirculating pumps that keep hot water always available at the tap. A hot water demand system that supplies instant hot water through the action of an electronically controlled pump in a recirculating loop also conserves the water lost while waiting for hot water. Good planning by strategic placement of the water heater is the most cost and energy-effective approach.

Toilets are becoming available with a lower flush option for fluids and a standard flush for solids. Check performance reviews done by consumer testing groups for the most reliable products of this nature. Retrofit devices of this type are also becoming available.

Select high quality products with replaceable parts. Check consumer test reports for the best products. Premature or non-detected product failure can quickly counter effective water conservation.

Check the ANSI test information when comparing products.