According to data from a recent study conducted by GMP Research Inc. and commissioned by Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), both builders and consumers have been slow to install WaterSense technology in homes. The study analyzed data collected from commercial and residential buildings regarding the presence of water-efficient bathroom faucets, showerheads, and toilets.
Developed in 2006, the EPA’s WaterSense program aims to conserve water in the U.S. by urging consumers and builders to install water-efficient plumbing products in their homes. WaterSense products are certified to be at least 20% more efficient than traditional plumbing products. According to the EPA, the WaterSense program has helped consumers save a cumulative 1.1 trillion gallons of water and over $21.7 billion in water and energy bills to date.
Across the nation, GMP Research found that 7% of installed toilets are WaterSense-certified toilets meeting a rating of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) or less. However, 26.7% of the homes surveyed were equipped with toilets that consume 3.5 gpf or more, and 66.3% of homes in the nation had toilets that use 1.6 gpf. For lavatory faucets, 25.4% meet the WaterSense rating of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), and 28.7% of showerheads are WaterSense certified, meaning they use 2.0 gpm or less.
Some states are ahead of the rest when it comes to WaterSense technology. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (Middle Atlantic) average a 10% rate for WaterSense toilet installations, the highest in the country. Texas has the highest WaterSense showerhead installation rate at 39.5%, and Arkansas has the highest installation rate for bathroom faucets at 35.1%.
With an average rate of 5.1%, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi have the lowest installation rate of WaterSense-certified toilets. Connecticut lags behind on two fronts, with the lowest installation rates for both WaterSense bathroom faucets (12.7%) and WaterSense showerheads (13.6%).