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WaterSense: Meets EPA Critera WaterSense Seal An EPA Partnership Program

The WaterSense Current Spring 2011

In This Issue XVIII, Spring 2011:

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:

Five Fast Fixes to Save Water on Earth Day

Earth day

This June marks WaterSense's fifth anniversary. We are starting the celebration early and encouraging consumers to take "Five Fast Fixes" to save water in honor of the 41st annual Earth Day, April 22. Count them all up, and you'll really save "WATER" this Earth Day!

Watch your water meter to determine if you have leaks. Take a meter reading and don't use water in your home for two hours. If the reading has changed during that time, you may have a leak. Learn more about what to do if you find you have leaks.

Avoid watering the sidewalk. As much as 50 percent of water used outside is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff due to overwatering. Make sure sprinklers only spray on plants. Learn more smart irrigation practices.

Turn off the tap when you floss or brush your teeth. Leaving the faucet on could be wasting eight gallons of water while you're brushing. Brush up on more water-saving tips.

End wasteful water practices in the kitchen. Scrape dishes with a rubber spatula instead of rinsing and run the dish washer only for full loads. Find more tips for saving water at home.

Replace fixtures with WaterSense labeled models. When it comes time to replace an old plumbing fixture, look for a WaterSense labeled model that uses at least 20 percent less water and performs as well as or better than standard models.

If you want to share these ideas with friends and neighbors this Earth Day, WaterSense has some ready-to-post tweets and Facebook updates for you!

I am for water! I made the #FiveFastFixes by
@EPAwatersense in honor of Earth Day!


 To show I am for water this Earth Day,
 I am making WaterSense's five fast fixes.
 Learn about what you can do to save water.

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Seeing Stars and Saving Water

With 36 states facing water shortages in the next few years, the importance of saving water is no laughing matter. But celebrities are using a little humor to help show consumers just how easy saving water can be.

To celebrate its 125th anniversary of providing clean water, American Water teamed up with the Student Conservation Association and WaterSense to develop the "Save Water Today" campaign, which features celebrities in four public service announcementsExit EPA Disclaimer(PSAs) that help demonstrate simple ways to save water.

Comedians Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz of Saturday Night Live, USA Surf Team member Lakey Peterson, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit actress Diane Neal each star in one of the campaign spots. The attention-grabbing PSAs take on common, potentially water-wasting activities such as running the dishwasher before it's full, allowing a worn flapper to cause a leaky toilet, taking long showers with water-hogging showerheads, and ignoring leaky pipes and faucets.

For example, Rachel Dratch, clad in a bathrobe, brings an unsuspecting homeowner extra dishes to ensure a full load. And while one man gets a shock when he sees Horatio Sanz outside his shower, the fact that he's using between five to eight gallons per minute is even more shocking.

If you're ready for a laugh, check out all the PSAs at www.savewatertoday.orgExit EPA Disclaimer. And if you're serious about saving water, check out the water conservation tips on the website and visit the WaterSense website to learn more about water-efficient products and practices. After all, if one out of every 10 American homes installed WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures and appliances, it could save about 2 billion gallons of water every year!

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Portland Welcomes WaterSense Home to Oregon

A WaterSense labeled new home with WaterSense labeled showerheads and ENERGY STAR qualified appliances could save a family of four about 50,000 gallons of water each year compared to an older, inefficient home. That's nearly enough water to fill the Amazon River tank at the Smithsonian National Zoo!

The Portland Water Bureau, along with 30 other contributors, recently completed the first home in Oregon built to the WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification.

The "Portland Water House", a project suggested by the city commissioner's office, will function as an educational tool, demonstrating to local residents ways to incorporate water efficiency when buying or building a new home or renovating an existing one.

"The benefit of building a house like this is to showcase green technologies and products in action," said Sarah Santner, residential water conservation coordinator for the Portland Water Bureau. "It not only promotes green building, but local products and local craftsmanship."

To meet the WaterSense specification for single-family new homes, the Portland Water House includes water-saving features inside and out. WaterSense labeled products, an efficient hot water delivery system, and ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances help save water indoors, while a front yard landscaped using the WaterSense Water Budget Tool allows for a regionally appropriate, low-maintenance yard with curb appeal. The Portland Water House also has a number of other green and sustainable products and services, some of which are designed by Portland-area companies. For example, a graywater recycling system filters water that would otherwise have been sent down the drain, allowing it to be reused.

"Around every corner there are signs describing the innovations within the house," Santner said. "There are a lot of things this house shows that you can do with new construction, but we also hope it inspires ideas for people doing specific retrofits."

Though Portland does not generally have water supply issues, Santner said, the community has the mindset that "just because you have it, doesn't mean you should use it." The Portland Water House's exterior emphasizes water-efficient landscaping, because Portland does not receive much precipitation in the summer.

In addition to preparing to earn the WaterSense label, the home is ENERGY STAR qualified and certified Earth Advantage Platinum. This means that in addition to being at least 20 percent more water-efficient than typical new homes, the Portland Water House is highly energy-efficient, thanks to features such as spray in-place foam insulation and a ductless heat pump system. A WaterSense labeled new home with ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and WaterSense labeled showerheads can save a family of four up to 50,000 gallons of water each year compared to a typical existing home.

The house, located in the Russell neighborhood of Northeast Portland, was built with public input; neighbors helped the Water Bureau select its ranch-style design. Keeping the community involved and up-to-date with the home's progress resulted in a major public turnout for the home's grand opening.

The houseExit EPA Disclaimerwill be open to the public through the end of May with scheduled events such as community and builder open houses and landscaping and toilet installation workshops. After a year of showcasing water efficiency, the Portland Water House will put on the market. By the time a family moves in to benefit from its water-saving measures, the Bureau hopes Portland-area residents will have learned from its example and welcomed water efficiency into their own homes.

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On your mark. Get Set. Fix!

On your mark

It's not every day you see a toilet crouched at the starting line. But to mark the third annual Fix a Leak Week, March 14 through 20, 2011, more than 140 Arizona runners lined up to chase a running toilet for the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association's (AMWUA's) "We're for Water—Join the Chase." To raise awareness about finding and fixing leaks, "Leaky Loo McFlapper," AMWUA's running toilet mascot led the four-mile race through a Phoenix suburb.

Because the average household loses more than 10,000 gallons of water each year from easy-to-fix household leaks, racers took the I'm for Water pledge to "check, twist, and replace" to help stop leaks. The winners of each age group category were given a wrench to commemorate their win and get them started on their goal of fixing leaks.

AMWUA also highlighted one of the most water-efficient homes in the area, owned by Sean Pierce. One repair project at a time, Pierce fixed leaks when he saw them and replaced fixtures when necessary. In doing so, he has made his home more water-efficient over the years, saving about 40,000 gallons of water per year and about $150 on utility bills.

Flo, the We're for Water "spokesgallon," made an appearance in Phoenix for the Fix a Leak Week kickoff and race. Flo also attended Fix a Leak Week events in Cobb County, Georgia, and New Mexico. Cobb County hosted Flo for its "Go Green to Save Green" workshop, appropriately taking place on St. Patrick's Day. And in New Mexico, Flo was visited various cities, educating residents how to find and fix leaks to help reduce the more than 1 trillion gallons of water that are lost each year from household leaks.

Even though Fix a Leak Week comes just once a year, you can save water and money year-round by keeping your eyes and ears open and wrench handy for when you spot a drop. Visit WaterSense's Facebook pageExit EPA Disclaimerto view photos and video from Fix a Leak Week events.

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Calculate Your Savings


Are you thinking about a bathroom remodel this spring? Considering replacing an old plumbing fixture with a WaterSense labeled model, but want to make sure you'll save? Based on what you're replacing, you could save a lot. WaterSense's online tools can help show you how you can do more using less and find the WaterSense labeled products that work with your design sense and budget.

The "Calculate Your Water Savings" tool helps you figure out exactly how much water and money you could save by installing any combination of WaterSense labeled products. For example, a family of four replacing its toilets with WaterSense labeled models could save nearly enough water to fill two backyard swimming pools and $110 in water utility bills annually.

Once you have figured out which fixture replacements will give you the most bang for your buck, you can use the WaterSense labeled product search tool to find a model that suits your needs. Think of it as a water-saving matchmaker. With WaterSense labeled products available in a variety of styles, models, and price points and a range of available features, the product search makes it easy for you to find a water-saving product that fits your specifications.

For example, the product search now has the capability to let you find labeled toilets based on their Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, flush type, bowl type, or flush mechanism. Or, if you are a fan of a particular brand of bathroom fixtures and want your bathroom to have a uniform look, search by brand to find a showerhead, toilet, and faucet in the same brand family.

Using these online tools, you can figure out exactly what you're getting and what you'll be saving before hitting the local home improvement store.

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