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The WaterSense Current Fall 2012

Issue XXIV, Fall 2012

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:

WaterSense 2012 Partners of the Year Go Beyond the Label

It takes more than just a label to save Americans $4.7 billion in water and energy bills and 287 billion gallons of water. Each year, WaterSense recognizes partners who have increased awareness about WaterSense and water efficiency in a measurable way. This year’s leaders include five Partners of the Year and five Excellence Award winners.

Promotional Partner of the Year: Colorado Springs Utilities

Colorado Springs Utilities’ collaborative efforts in 2011 resulted in the first WaterSense labeled home in the state and the first home to receive ENERGY STAR® qualification, LEED® for Homes certification, and the WaterSense label. The organization helped hundreds of commercial kitchens save millions of gallons water by distributing free, water-efficient pre-rinse spray valves and sharing additional tips on commercial water efficiency.

Builder Partner of the Year: KB Home

WaterSense partner KB Home, a two-time Builder Partner of the Year, built nearly 100 WaterSense labeled new homes in five communities in Northern California, Central Texas, and Central Florida. To ensure the homes it builds are water-efficient inside and out, KB Home Studio’s custom design options for homebuyers include WaterSense labeled fixtures for the interior and weather-based irrigation controllers for landscape watering.

2012 WaterSense Excellence Award Winners
  • Excellence Awards for Fix a Leak Week Activities: Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer
  • Excellence Award for Education and Outreach: American Water
  • Excellence Award for Strategic Collaboration: Alliance for Water Efficiency
  • Excellence Award for Employee Education: The Home Depot

Manufacturer Partners of the Year: American Standard Brands, Kohler Co.

American Standard gave hundreds of consumers an up-close look at WaterSense labeled products during its cross-country Responsible Bathroom Tour. The company also introduced its “no tools” WaterSense labeled SAVERTM toilet that a home improvement novice can install using simple hand-tightening.

Three-time Manufacturer Partner of the Year Kohler Co. teamed up with WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year Lowe’s and other organizations to launch the “Wasting Water Is Weird” campaign. The company also provided WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads for 550 Habitat for Humanity homes in California and Texas.

Retailer Partner of the Year: Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

WaterSense was the main focus of Lowe’s 2011 Efficient Home marketing campaign, which emphasized a “save energy, save water, save money” message. Lowe’s sales staff educated customers about WaterSense and helped them identify the benefits of WaterSense labeled products.

To learn more about the water-efficiency efforts championed by the 2012 WaterSense Partners of the Year and Excellence Award winners, visit the WaterSense Awards page.

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kid playing with water

WaterSense Labeled Showerheads Help You Shower Better

The shower represents an escape from the outside world. It’s where you wake up, wind down, or get ready to tackle the day. So what if there was an even better way to shower? There is, thanks to WaterSense labeled showerheads. You can experience superior shower performance and save water, energy, and money simply by replacing your showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model this fall.

Showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallons per household per day. That’s nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States annually just for showering! The good news is that you can shower better—not shorter—with a WaterSense labeled showerhead, and save 4 gallons of water every time you shower.

Showerheads that have earned the WaterSense label are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and meet EPA’s performance criteria for spray force and water coverage, which means you really will shower better.

What’s more, installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead can save the average family the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry each year. Because energy is required to heat the water coming to your shower, your family can also save enough electricity to power your home for 13 days per year and cut utility bills by nearly $70 annually.

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or simply interested in ways to save around the house, look for the WaterSense label on your next showerhead. To make the showering savings even sweeter, some utilities offer rebates, giveaways, promotions, or other incentives to promote water-efficient showerheads.

To learn more about WaterSense labeled showerheads and to see a list of models, visit the WaterSense Labeled Showerheads page. In addition, the WaterSense Rebate Finder lists some of the rebates utilities offer on WaterSense labeled showerheads and other plumbing fixtures.

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Movin’ on Up: WaterSense Label Now Available to Apartments and Condos

Courtesy H.G. Fenton Company

Those in the market for an apartment or condo will soon be able to come home to water, energy, and utility savings, while still enjoying a comfortable living space. Starting January 1, 2013, new apartments and condos are eligible to earn the WaterSense label under the revised WaterSense new home specification.

For house hunters and renters alike, choosing a new home or rental property is an investment in your family’s future. But when that new home has earned the WaterSense label, it’s also an investment in the planet. WaterSense labeled homes make it easy to save water, energy, and money inside and out. These homes can save a family of four up to 50,000 gallons of water per year—or the amount it takes to wash 2,000 loads of laundry. The family can also expect to save $600 in utility bills from reducing hot water needs.

Residents of WaterSense labeled apartments or condos will enjoy WaterSense labeled toilets, sink faucets, and showerheads, as well as efficient hot water delivery systems and the ability to monitor their own water use. Not only do these hot water delivery systems save water, they save energy by reducing the amount of time it takes hot water to travel to the faucet or shower—which means you won’t waste time waiting for hot water to reach the tap or tub. If WaterSense labeled units include dishwashers and clothes washers when the property is built, EPA criteria require both appliances to be ENERGY STAR qualified.

And the savings don’t stop when you step outdoors. Apartment or condo buildings with WaterSense labeled units will have a water-smart landscape that’s both beautiful and efficient. If it has an irrigation system, the system must be designed to apply water only when needed and if a weather-based controller is included, it must be a WaterSense labeled model. WaterSense

For more information about WaterSense labeled new homes, visit the WaterSense page on buying new homes.

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WaterSense Kids Page and Teacher Tools Make Back-to-School Fun

Teacher and kids

The WaterSense Kids page—including an online, interactive game—offers the perfect outlet for kids looking for a little fun after finishing their homework. For teachers looking for new science, math, and environmental curricula this year, WaterSense’s teacher resources offer water-related curricula for all levels of students.

At Flo’s Kids Zone, children can participate in activities on finding leaks, simple steps to reduce water use, and an interactive computer game where kids can “test their water sense.” Players move Flo the spokesgallon through a maze of winding pipes and answer water-efficiency trivia along the way, while avoiding water-wasting monsters.

Teachers can engage elementary students on the importance of finding and fixing leaks, teach them how to read their home’s water meter, show them how to convert gallons to cubic feet, and experiment with how to check for leaks at home using food coloring with WaterSense’s Fix a Leak Week Teacher’s Guide. There’s also a Fix a Leak Week Family Fact Sheet to help parents find and fix leaks at home.

A Day in the Life of a Drop is an educational curriculum to help older students make the connection between water use habits and the impacts those habits have on the environment. Kids can track their daily water use and complete activity pages designed to educate and entertain. The Teacher’s Guide to Using a Day in the Life of a Drop explains how teachers can implement these tools in a classroom setting.

To learn more, explore WaterSense’s tools for educators or visit the WaterSense Kids page.

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Six Tips Help Kitchen-Savvy Consumers Whip Up a Batch of Savings

Washing Dishes

With the holiday season fast approaching, many are finding themselves cooking more meals, doing more dishes, and entertaining guests—but more water doesn’t need to flow with the holidays. WaterSense offers six simple ways to save water in the kitchen this season while you’re whipping up meals for your family and friends.

Put it a plug in it. It’s a good rule of thumb to plug the drain when washing dishes in the sink or use a plastic wash basin filled with soapy water. This will significantly reduce the amount of water you waste by letting the tap run while you’re scrubbing holiday dishes.

Load it up! Don’t just fill up your guests this season—fill up your dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, dishwashers built before 1994 can use as much as 10 gallons of water per cycle. Ensuring your dishwasher is fully loaded each time you run it decreases the number of loads you’re doing and water you’re wasting.

Water Droplets: The average family can save 2,900 gallons of water per year by replacing a showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model. That's equivalent to the amount needed to wash more than 70 loads of laundry

Scrape the scraps. When plates return to the kitchen with food scraps on them, be water-efficient by scraping or wiping them off rather than rinsing every particle away with water.

Pour a pitcher full of savings. Instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool, save water by filling a pitcher with water and storing it in the fridge. An ice-cold pitcher of water makes a great addition to your holiday table.

Let the fridge do the work. Instead of running hot water over frozen foods, thaw them out in the fridge overnight. Not only will you cut your water use, but you’ll also save the energy required to heat the water.

Give your garbage disposal a holiday. Most garbage disposal systems use water to break down and dispose of wastes, which can impact your household’s water use. This season, consider adding food wastes to a compost pile instead of tossing them down the garbage disposal.

To learn more water-saving tips to use this holiday season and how to save water all year, visit the WaterSense Be the Change page.

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