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WaterSense label confirms efficiency and savings

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Question: Many consumers are familiar with Energy Star appliances that use less electricity and save homeowners money. Is there a similar program for components in a home that reduce water use?

Answer: The WaterSense program offers consumers simple ways to save water — it is both a label for products, new homes and services, as well as an information resource for water-saving tips and behaviors. WaterSense is similar to Energy Star in that both programs work toward market enhancement and public recognition through the labeling of products and programs.

Q: Who started Water­Sense and when?

A: The WaterSense program was launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006.

Q: How does the program work?

A: The WaterSense program was created to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. In general, products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance. WaterSense also offers a label for water-saving new homes.

Q: How many and what kinds of products are available with the WaterSense label?

A: The WaterSense label can be found on more than 5,400 models of tank-type toilets, shower heads, flushing urinals, bathroom sink faucets and aerators, and weather-based irrigation controllers. More than 150 new homes have earned the WaterSense label. The Water­Sense label also appears on professional certification programs for landscape irrigation professionals.

Q: What type of savings can be achieved?

A: Compared to a typical home, a WaterSense-labeled new home can save a family of four 50,000 gallons of water a year or more. That’s enough to wash 2,000 loads of laundry and could amount to utility bill savings of up to $600 each year.

To date, WaterSense and its partners have helped consumers save 287 billion gallons of water and over $4.7 billion in water and energy bills. By the end of 2011, reductions of 38.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were achieved through the use of WaterSense-labeled products.

Q: Do WaterSense products cost more?

A: With thousands of labeled products in the marketplace, WaterSense-labeled products are now available at virtually every cost point, which means that builders and homeowners don’t have to choose between price and efficiency.

Q: Who administers labeling?

A: WaterSense ensures consumer confidence in those products with a label backed by third-party independent certification. Certifying organizations help maintain the WaterSense integrity and credibility by verifying conformance to WaterSense specifications, efficiency, performance and label use as well as to conduct periodic market surveillance.

Interviewed by Andrew Gomes

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