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Flow Rates for Typical Fixtures Then & Now

Flow Rates for Typical Fixtures Then & Now
How does it impact your personal bottom line and local governments?

Federal standards for high-efficiency water and energy specifications have made an impact on reducing household water use.  A house built in 2011 on average uses 35% less indoor water than homes built before 1994.  The figure below summarizes the changes that stemmed from the US Energy Policy Act of 1994 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Flow Rates for Typical Household Fixtures and Appliances*

Type of Use

Pre-Regulatory Flow2

Regulatory Standards and Flows

Current WaterSense/ ENERGY STAR Specification1

Federal Law

Year Effective

Regulatory Standard (maximum)

Toilets

3.5 gpf

US Energy Policy Act

1994

1.6 gpf

1.28 gpf

Showers

2.75 gpm

US Energy Policy Act

1994

2.5 gpm

(at 80 psi)

2.00 gpm

Faucets3

2.75 gpm

US Energy Policy Act

1994

2.5 gpm or

1.5 gpm

(at 80 psi)

1.50 gpm

(at 60 psi)

Dishwashers

14 gpc

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

2010

6.5 gpc

(standard)

4.5 gpc

(compact)

4.25 gpc

(standard)

3.50 gpc

(compact)

Clothes Washers4

41 gpl

(14.6 WF)

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

2011

26.6 gpl (estimate)

9.5 WF

16.8 gpl (estimate

6.0 WF

Abbreviations:      gpc – gallons per cycle

gpf – gallons per flush

gpl – gallons per load

gpm – gallons per minute

psi – pounds  per square inch

W.F. – Water factor or gallons per cycle per cubic feet capacity of the washer

*Table adapted from Hunter, M. et al. (2011).

  1. Source: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/ and http://www.energystar.gov websites
  2. Source: Handbook of Water Use and Conservation, Amy Vickers, May 2001
  3. Regulation maximum of 2.5 gpm at 80 psi, but lavatory faucets available at 1.5 gpm maximum
  4. Average estimated gallons per load and water factor

And it’s not just new construction.  More and more people have replaced older fixtures and appliances for those meeting the new standards.  All of this impacts water use.  And while that’s good for conservation, it’s tough for local water utilities trying to meet their budgets.  So while these fixtures will definitely save you water, the costs of treatment and transport continue to rise.  As a region, we’ll all have to bear the cost together.

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