WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities
Showerheads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations, including: fixed
showerheads, which are affixed overhead and permanently attached to the wall;
handheld showerheads, which have a flexible hose that can be detached from the
wall and moved freely by the user; and body sprays (e.g., spas, jets), which spray
water onto the user from a direction other than overhead, usually
from a vertical column on the shower wall. Each type is uniquely
suited to perform a specific function. In order to reduce overall
water use, the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 established the
maximum allowable flow rate for all showerheads sold in the
United States as 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm).
Since this standard was enacted, many showerheads have been
designed to use even less water. While these fixtures save water
with a lower flow rate, the duration of the shower sometimes
increases, resulting in an overall increase water usage. Recent con-
sumer market research identified three key performance attributes
that are necessary to ensure user satisfaction under a variety of
household conditions: flow rate across a range of pressures, spray
force, and spray coverage. Each of these criteria can be tested
using a specific protocol that measures accuracy and reliability.
All three criteria must be met to produce a “satisfactory” shower
without using more water.
To address efficiency and advances in showerhead technology, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® pro-
gram has published a specification to label water-efficient, high-
performing showerheads. WaterSense labeled showerheads
certified to use 2.0 gpm or less, while also meeting or exceeding performance criteria
for force and coverage.
Operation, Maintenance, and User Education
For optimum showerhead efficiency, the system pressure should be tested to make
sure that it is between 20 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi). This will ensure that
the showerhead will deliver the expected flow and performance. In addition, con-
sider the following:
Verify that the hot and cold water plumbing lines to the showerhead are routed
through a shower valve that meets the temperature control performance re-
quirements of the American Society of Sanitary Engineers (ASSE) 1016 or Ameri-
can Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A112.18.1/Canadian Standards As-
sociation (CSA) B125.1 standards when tested at the flow rate of the showerhead
installed. This valve will prevent against significant fluctuations in water pressure
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program. WaterSense Labeled Showerheads.