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Lavatory Faucet Retrofits

In FY 2008, EPA facilities began retrofitting their older, inefficient lavatory faucets with high-efficiency models.  EPA anticipates completing the retrofits in FY 2010, at which time the Agency expects to save approximately 1.5 million gallons of water per year.

Background

Many EPA facilities were or are using lavatory faucets that comply with the current national standard, established in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Energy in response to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, of a maximum flow rate up to 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) measured at a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch (psi). By modifying or replacing those faucets with high-efficiency models, the facilities can achieve significant water savings. Standards for plumbing fittings used in different applications are established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The maximum flow rate for public lavatory faucets, established by ASME Standard A112.18.1-2005/CSA B125.1-05 Plumbing Supply Fittings, is 0.5 gpm at 60 psi. Lavatory faucets with maximum flow rates of 0.5 gpm provide satisfactory performance for hand washing and rinsing performed in public restrooms.

To restrict the maximum flow rate to 0.5 gpm, either the complete faucet assembly can be replaced, or the flow control fitting at the spout end can be retrofitted with an accessory rated at 0.5 gpm maximum flow.  On most faucets, maximum flow is controlled by an aerator, laminar flow device, or spray device screwed on to the spout end.

In addition to being certified for compliance to ASME Stanard A112.18.1-2005, the high-efficiency fitting EPA recommends for its facility lavatories includes an attachable pressure compensating spray device. Pressure compensation is important because water pressure can vary at different buildings and locations, which can affect performance.  Pressure compensating spray devices provide uniform performance across a wide range of water pressures, allowing faucets to achieve a 0.5 gpm flow rate.

Water Savings

Assuming that each building occupant washes his or her hands for 10 seconds four times per day and 250 days per year, the annual savings potential per occupant in changing from 2.2 gpm faucets to 0.5 gpm faucets would be 283 gallons per year.

Therefore, a 50-occupant facility would save 14,000 gallons per year, and a 500-occupant facility would save 140,000 gallons per year.

As of September 2009, 19 EPA facilities have retrofit their faucets with 0.5 gpm faucets or faucet aerators, resulting in a total estimated water savings of approximately 1.2 million gallons per year.  Eight EPA facilities are preparing to retrofit their lavatory faucets, which will result in a future total estimated savings of an additional 300,000 gallons annually. When faucet retrofits are complete Agencywide, EPA anticipates that facilities will see a combined savings of approximately 1.5 million gallons of water saved per year.

Progress

The following facilities have finished retrofitting their lavatory faucets:

The following facilities are expected to retrofit their lavatory faucets in FY 2009:

The following facilities are expected to retrofit their lavatory faucets in FY 2010:


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