Water efficiency requirements were added to the SystemVision program standards last year. Make sure that these components are in place before calling the scheduling hotline for a final inspection:
- Pipe insulation – From the water heater, the first 3 feet of hot and cold pipes shall be insulated to R-4 or better
- Plumbing fixtures shall be equal to or better than the rates below:
- Toilets: 1.3 gallons per flush (GPF)
- Showerheads: 2.25 gallons per minute (GPM)
- Kitchen faucets: 2.2 GPM
- Bath faucets: 1.5 GPM
Putting pipe insulation on the first few feet of cold and hot water pipes going into and out of the water heater will save between $5 and $10 in energy costs each year. Most people wonder why you need to insulate the cold pipes. If you have ever touched the cold pipes supplying the water heater, you will realize that they are warm to the touch. That is because a little bit of heated water sits in the first few feet of cold pipes. Keeping the pipes insulated keeps more of the hot water hot and more money in your pocket.
Using a 1.5 GPM bathroom faucet aerator instead of the typical 2.2 GPM aerator can save up to $10 each year.
Installing water-efficient showerheads and shortening your shower by a minute or two can save more than 3,600 gallons per person per year and $10 to $40 per year in energy costs.
If you are concerned about the quality of low flow fixtures, try to purchase WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense is a voluntary program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency that is similar to ENERGY STAR. When you shop for a new refrigerator, you look for the ENERGY STAR label. If you’re shopping for a new showerhead, you should be looking for the WaterSense label. WaterSense not only has fixture flow requirements that match or exceed SystemVision standards, they also must meet stringent performance standards. When you have difficulty washing soap from your hands with a low flow aerator, chances are it is not a WaterSense labeled product.
What tips do you have for purchasing water efficient fixtures for your SystemVision homes? Are there particular brands you prefer? Is there a good place to purchase these items in bulk or get them for free? Share your tips!