The typical modern home contains numerous plumbing fixtures, each with different uses and flow rates, and according to the environmental and public health advocacy site GRACE Communications Foundation, the average person living in one of these homes uses around 60 gallons of water per day. Fortunately, water efficiency is all the rage these days. With their eyes set on the future, plumbing manufacturers are creating more and more faucets, toilets, and shower systems that maintain a consistent level of efficiency while using the least amount of water possible.
In this guide, we’ll showcase some of the major ways that brands are combating water waste in the home and elsewhere, as well as some specific products you might want to check out if you’re trying to become more water efficient.
Water Efficient Qualities to Look For
If you’re in the market for water efficient kitchen and bathroom products, there are a few terms you should be aware of right off the bat. First and foremost, water efficiency is most often discussed in terms of flow rate, referring to the rate at which water flows through a fixture when it is turned on. For continuously flowing fixtures like faucets and showerheads, flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (gpm); alternatively, for toilets, flow rate is measured in gallons per flush (gpf). A low flow rate is the easiest way to tell if a product is considered water efficient.
If a product has a low enough flow rate, it falls within certain codes and certifications, which in turn make it easier for you to recognize the product as water efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, has created the WaterSense label for the following products:
- Showerheads that use no more than 2.0 gpm
- Bathroom faucets that use no more than 1.5 gpm (this number is slightly higher for kitchen faucets)
- Toilets that use no more than 1.28 gpf
The WaterSense certification is often displayed alongside the product to make the shopping experience easier. Other labels include CALGreen, which indicates products that have met California’s standards for water efficiency, as well as an assortment of industry standards and codes like those listed here by the Alliance for Water Efficiency.
A final thing to consider when choosing a water efficient product is how well the product handles leaks. According to the same report from GRACE that we mentioned above, the average household loses 14% of its water to leaky fixtures alone, amounting to nearly 10 gallons of water per person per day. With this issue in mind, several manufacturers have begun to equip their products with technologies specifically designed to prevent leakage. The Pfister Avalon bathroom faucet (pictured above), for example, comes with a custom made Pforever Seal (an advanced ceramic disc valve) that is guaranteed to maintain a tight grip. When it comes to water efficient products, we recommend you keep an eye out for fixtures with leak-prevention technology; the extra measure can often make all the difference.
The Best Products on the Market
At SUPPLY.com, we offer a wide range of water efficient products for the kitchen, bathroom, and beyond. If you’re in the market, we’ve listed a few of the more popular product options below to help get your search started.
When we talk about water efficiency in the kitchen, odds are we’re talking about the kitchen faucet. This fixture is typically used multiple times a day for drinking and cleaning purposes, and as a result, most major faucet brands now offer models equipped with some form of water-saving technology. The Delta Leland Single Hole kitchen faucet, for example, contains Delta’s custom Diamond Seal Technology, designed to reduce leaks for twice as long as the industry standard (for more information on Diamond Seal, check out SUPPLY.com’s guide).
On top of the Delta Leland, hundreds of kitchen faucet models are WaterSense certified, including the Moen Align Pullout Spray faucet and GROHE’s Universal Filtering Wall Mount model, both of which flow at a rate of 1.5 gpm.
Faucets, toilets, and shower systems are all major components of a typical home bathroom, and there are water efficient options available for each. Hansgrohe is well known for mixing the latest technology into the the design of their bathroom products; case in point, their EcoRight showers and faucets use up to 60% less water than standard models due to a combination of flow limitation and the addition of an aerator. The aerator enriches the flow of water with air, resulting in a lighter, more bubbly feel that saves you money at the end of the day.
And of course, we can’t talk about water efficient bathroom products without mentioning the TOTO Drake Elongated Two Piece toilet, which is equipped with the brand’s Double Cyclone flushing technology. This system uses the power of gravity and centrifugal force to create a flush that uses only 1.28 gallons of water (for more information on all of TOTO’s custom flushing systems, check out SUPPLY.com’s “Which TOTO Toilet Flushing System Is Right for You?”).
So far in this article, we’ve focused specifically on kitchen and bathroom products for the home. However, if you’re in the market for commercial plumbing products for offices, schools, or other public spaces, there are several water efficient options to browse. Zurn, for example, offers an Omni-Flo porcelain urinal that ranges between 0.25 and 1.0 gpf, making it a perfect choice for public bathrooms that see a high level of foot traffic.
Another hot commercial item to check out is Elkay’s Swirlflo Drinking Fountain (pictured above). This dual-fountain model is WaterSense certified and ADA compliant, with a splash resistant surface to further ensure that every last drop of water is used with purpose. For more on Elkay’s product lineup, as well as a wider assortment of commercial brands, you can check out SUPPLY.com’s commercial products page.
The Importance of Water Efficiency
In a world where droughts and water contamination are a reality, drinkable water is not the unlimited resource we often take it to be. Fortunately, water efficiency is a win-win strategy. Not only do several states offer tax rebates for upgrading to water efficient products, but also your monthly water bill will start going down as you cut down more and more on daily water waste. Plus, society as a whole benefits by maintaining more constant fresh water stockpiles in case of future emergencies. In a nutshell, water efficiency is the future, and if you’re interested, the products we’ve outlined in this guide are only the tip of the iceberg.
If you want to learn more about water efficient products, feel free to give the SUPPLY.com team of product experts a call at 866-355-0310, or shop our entire product collection below!