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Are we pissing away our water?

urinals

Yep… so much so that US Environmental Protection Agencies WaterSense program (an ENERGY STAR for water) has addressed the issue by making the flushing urinal the first commercial product for which it’s developed standards. According to the EPA, “Approximately 65 percent of the estimated 12 million urinals in the United States are old and inefficient. While the current federal standard for commercial urinals is 1.0 gallon per flush (gpf ), some older urinals use as much as five times that amount!”

The WaterSense standard cuts the current federal standard in half: a half gallon a flush. While that’s a relatively small amount individually, the EPA claims that “Replacing just one older, inefficient urinal that uses 1.5 gpf with a WaterSense labeled model could save a facility approximately 4,600 gallons of water per year.” And if all older-model urinals across the country were replaced with WaterSense models, that could save up to 45 billion gallons annually.

Of course, waterless would be the real way to go here, but efforts along those lines keep running into issues with smell… no building owner wants restrooms that smell like pee all the time…

While this is the first commercial product standard, the relatively new WaterSense program does have a number of certification guidelines in place for consumer products, including bathroom sink faucets, high-efficiency toilets, and showerheads.

Image credit: markhillary at Flickr under a Creative Commons license