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WaterSense: Meets EPA Critera WaterSense Seal An EPA Partnership Program

The WaterSense Current Fall 2014

Issue XXXII, Fall 2014

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water.The WaterSense Current is a quarterly update dedicated to news and events relatedto WaterSense.

In This Issue:

WaterSense Awards Celebrate Building Strong Communities

Various smiling people in a huddleThousands of WaterSense partners have contributed to the 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion in water and energy costs consumers have saved since 2006 by purchasing WaterSense labeled products and new homes. A select few, however, stand out for their efforts to strengthen communities' water efficiency efforts. On October 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its 2014 WaterSense Award winners at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As the first two-time WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award winner, Kohler Co. demonstrated its ongoing efforts to help Americans save water in 2013, introducing a dual-flush trip lever for tank-type toilets that made selecting a smaller flush easier for consumers accustomed to traditional flush levers and increases accessibility for those with dexterity challenges. This innovation is just one of the ways Kohler has consistently helped consumers increase their water efficiency.

WaterSense 2014
Excellence Award Winners
  • Excellence in Outreach and Education: Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas
  • Excellence in Strategic Collaboration: Denver Water
  • Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products: Puget Sound Energy (Washington)

Kohler also embarked on a cross-country "Trust the Flush" bus tour in 2013 showcasing WaterSense labeled toilets' performance at more than 185 events. A 45-foot motor coach with an on-board interactive lab featured the latest flushing technologies in four waste-removal and cleanliness tests. During the mobile marketing campaign, the #KohlerToiletTour Twitter hashtag, in addition to its Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest presence, promoted WaterSense labeled toilets, bathroom sink faucets, and showerheads.

In addition, EPA recognized nine WaterSense Partners of the Year for their commitment to water efficiency in 2013:

  • Cobb County Water System in Georgia earned its third WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year award in part for its WaterSense labeled toilet rebate program, which helped reduce the county's annual average daily water use by 10 million gallons per day in 2013 compared to 2010.
  • Now a two-time WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year, Colorado Springs Utilities in Colorado educated more than 20,000 visitors about water efficiency and WaterSense labeled product performance at its Conservation and Environmental Center, among other efforts.
  • Delta Faucet Company earned a WaterSense Large Manufacturer Partner of the Year award, its third such award, for creating an online faucet video gallery and website that featured WaterSense labeled products in more than 20 videos.
  • HydroPoint Data Systems received the WaterSense Small Manufacturer Partner of the Year award in part for introducing a Water Budget Manager tool that allows irrigation professionals and homeowners to see, track, and report a landscape's water consumption after installing WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers.
  • The Home Depot, a three-time WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year, was recognized for its efforts to help shoppers take advantage of WaterSense labeled product rebate programs nationwide; the retailer ultimately helped consumers achieve more than $36 million in product rebates in 2013 alone.
  • KB Home won its fourth consecutive WaterSense Builder Partner of the Year award in part by breaking new ground in 2013 with the introduction of its Double ZeroHouse 2.0 concept to demonstrate water efficiency, energy efficiency, and other resource savings.
  • Energy Inspectors Corporation, a two-time WaterSense Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year, inspected 51 WaterSense labeled new homes in 2013 and collaborated with KB Home to educate homeowners about the labeled homes' water- and energy-saving benefits.
  • Second-time Professional WaterSense Certifying Organization Partner of the Year award winner, the Irrigation Association educated irrigation professionals about WaterSense and cross-promoted WaterSense's Sprinkler Spruce-Up with its Smart Irrigation Month campaign.
  • The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership in California earned a WaterSense Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year award with its WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program, which has certified hundreds of irrigation professionals in many parts of the country.

Learn more about this year's five Excellence Award winners (see box at right) and additional details about the water efficiency efforts of the 2014 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award winners and Partners of the Year.

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For Every Drop, You Can Save a Watt

Shower Better infographic: Why waste 2,900 gallons of water, 13 days of energy to power your home, and $70 a year?October is Energy Action Month, a time to take simple actions to save energy and money on your utility bills. And one of the easiest places to take action to save energy—and water—every day is in your shower.

Many Americans know about the importance of saving energy and water. But few know about the drops-to-watts connection—that it takes energy to pump, heat, treat, and deliver the water we use every day. We turn on the bathroom lights and the shower without realizing how closely related water and energy are to each other.

If you want to save energy, as well as water and money, start with your shower. Showering is one of the leading ways we use water at home. The average family uses more than 13,000 gallons of water annually just for showering—or about 17 percent of your home's indoor water use. That adds up to 40 gallons of water per family each day—or nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used each year nationwide just for showering!

That's why EPA has also declared October Shower Better Month. By replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, the average family can save more than 2,900 gallons of water each year—the amount it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry. A WaterSense labeled showerhead can also save the amount of electricity it takes to power the average family's home for 13 days and reduce their annual water and energy costs by more than $70!

WaterSense labeled showerheads are available in a wide variety of styles and prices. Most importantly, all models that earn the label must be independently certified for both efficiency and performance. So you can enjoy a satisfying spray while saving water, energy, and money—in other words, you will shower better!

Learn more about these high-performing, energy-saving showerheads. Your local utility might even provide a rebate on your purchase of a WaterSense labeled model, so saving energy, water, and money has never been easier!

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Help the Hundreds of Hotels Pledging to Reduce Water Use

Smiling female hotel employee holding towels.Water used in hotels accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total water use in commercial and institutional facilities in the United States. That's why nearly 800 hotels across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean have joined the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to assess, change, and track their water use. If you're planning a trip to see the fall colors, add some green to your getaway by looking for a Challenge participant and following WaterSense's tips to save water while you travel.

  1. Send leaks packing. Guests are a hotel's first line of defense against leaks, which can waste more than 6 percent of a facility's total water use. Report running toilets and dripping faucets and showerheads to hotel staff so they can make sure to repair or replace the fixture.
  2. Put a cap on the tap. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth or shave and encourage your travel companions to do the same. Refraining from letting the water run during these morning and evening bathroom rituals can save 8 gallons of water per day.
  3. Take a soak sabbatical. A full bathtub can require as much as 70 gallons of water, whereas taking a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons. Ditch the post-bath prune hands and use that extra time to take in all your destination has to offer.
  4. Lighten your load. Most of us don't wash our towels and sheets every day at home, so why do so when we're away? Reusing towels and requesting that the bed not be changed during your stay can reduce a hotel's laundry loads by 17 percent. Take advantage of linen reuse programs where offered to help hotels save the water and energy used to wash and dry towels and sheets.

Learn more about how the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge is working to curb hotel water use in resort, casino, and national park travel destinations worldwide.

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California Campus Adds Water Savings to the Menu

Two people at a cafeteria

Lair Marketplace

As California enters its third year of statewide drought conditions, water and sewer costs in Los Angeles are expected to increase by 8 percent annually over the next five years. Rising utility costs for the state's institutions of higher learning can also mean increased tuition rates and other student expenses. But commercial kitchen water efficiency measures implemented at several Loyola Marymount University dining halls are expected to add up to big savings this school year as students head back to campus.

With support from environmentally conscious college students, faculty, and staff, Loyola Marymount has prioritized water efficiency in its four commercial kitchens and approximately 14 satellite venues, together serving 45,000 hungry customers per week. The Lair Marketplace, Loyola Marymount's largest dining hall, serves 25,000 guests in one week. By retrofitting and replacing water-using equipment with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances and other high-efficiency models in its commercial kitchens, Loyola Marymount saved more than 4.7 million gallons of water per year, which translates to more than $50,000 in water and sewer costs.

For example, high-efficiency faucet aerators and pre-rinse spray valves installed throughout campus save more than 3 million gallons of water annually. Staff also replaced the university's large, industrial flight-type washing machines with ENERGY STAR qualified commercial dishwashers, which use 250 fewer gallons of water per rinse cycle and 25 percent less energy. The dishwasher upgrade saved the university more than 500,000 gallons of water in just one year.

To curb water waste in its food disposal system, Loyola Marymount swapped all of its garbage disposals with food pulpers—a water–efficient alternative that crushes food and sends the pulp waste to a bin for disposal or composting. The system simultaneously extracts excess water from the pulp, 75 percent of which is recycled back into the food disposal process. To reduce water use in the Lair Marketplace's three-compartment sinks—which each require approximately 100 gallons of water to fill—staff added a fats, oils, and grease (FOG) tank. By decarbonizing pots and pans and therefore eliminating the need for scrubbing, the FOG tank has saved Loyola Marymount more than 740,000 gallons of water per year.

To develop a culture of environmental stewardship, the university trained employees on using these new fixtures and adhering to sustainability practices. Loyola Marymount's sustainable dining efforts earned it both Princeton Review Green Campus status and a four-star Green Restaurant Association (GRA) certification for the Lair Marketplace. As of August 2014, it is one of only two universities to receive this GRA designation.

Learn more about water–saving best management practices in commercial kitchens.

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Puget Sound Energy Helps Customers Shower Better and Save

Pamphlets about shower water savings

PSE's in-store collaboration with
The Home Depot

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) was honored with a 2014 WaterSense Excellence Award for helping customers across the state of Washington wake up and wind down without the water waste. From in-store incentives to energy efficiency kits left during home visits, the Bellevue-based utility helped thousands of customers save water and shower better. Upon becoming one of the first electric and natural gas utilities to partner with WaterSense in late 2013, PSE almost immediately began helping its customers realize the benefits of WaterSense labeled showerheads.

Even before partnering with WaterSense, PSE laid the groundwork to get water-efficient showerheads in customers' bathrooms with dozens of "pop-up" retail events throughout its service territory. The more than 10,300 WaterSense labeled showerheads purchased as a result have been helping customers in the Evergreen State shower a little greener ever since.

Using the knowledge gained from the pop-up events, PSE partnered with The Home Depot to conduct 12 events educating shoppers about WaterSense labeled showerheads, as well as the incentives PSE offers to customers who purchase them. Home Depot staff asked customers about their shower-buying habits to gain important insights into preconceived notions that many consumers have about high-efficiency showerheads. The number-one concern: apprehension about the quality of the shower experience.

By educating customers that WaterSense labeled showerheads are independently certified for both water efficiency and performance, PSE was able to assure customers that they would still get a satisfying shower. As a result, the utility distributed nearly 300 WaterSense labeled showerheads to its customers.

Water Droplets: Replacing showerheads with WaterSense labelled models can save the average family more than 370 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year—the amount needed to power its home for 13 days!The utility has also developed and maintained its own Web-based Shop PSE store that sells WaterSense labeled showerheads, where online visitors can purchase a variety of labeled models at steep discounts. More than 6,200 WaterSense labeled showerheads were sold to PSE gas and electric customers in 2013 alone.

On top of these initiatives, PSE also provides customers with energy efficiency kits containing a WaterSense labeled showerhead, among other items, and performs direct installations. Between these two programs, the utility has distributed more than 7,000 WaterSense labeled showerheads to customers in its service territory. PSE also worked with local retailers to offer more than 23,000 instant rebates to customers who purchased WaterSense labeled showerheads.

Learn moreExit EPA Disclaimerabout PSE's efforts to help its customers shower better.

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