Home > Green Trends, Specific Industry Trends > Making sense, of WaterSense

Making sense, of WaterSense

by: Kim Musel
What does being “Green” mean? In the plumbing industry this does not just mean more efficient in that it uses less electricity, but that it uses water more efficiently with less waste and with less pollution “downstream”.
In 2006, the EPA launched the “WaterSense” program. It is a program ran through the EPA that creates and maintains voluntary water efficiency standards. While the program is currently voluntary it is a major driver for standards and practices within the industry to reduce water use, save resources and money, and is going to become law in several states including Texas and California by 2014.
If a product has a WaterSense label that means that it meets certain minimum environmental standards, for example, being 20% more efficient than average products, performing as well or better than the old standard, and that they provide real savings as proven by a third-party certifying organization, such as Underwriters LaboratoryGeorge Morlan WaterSense toilets
The WaterSense label can be found on sinks and faucets, shower heads, toilets, urinals and even a whole new home. So while everyone wants the luxurious multi-head shower towers, or the huge waterfall shower heads, they can still have that luxury without all of the waste.
Emissions Requirements for Plumbing Equipment?
Who thinks that they need to worry about emissions for a water heater? But think about it. Any appliance or “machine” that burns a fuel has exhaust emissions. In Texas and Southern California, areas that have particularly high pollution rates, especially in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and Dallas, it makes sense to look all sources of pollution, not just cars. For a natural gas fired water heater to be installed in Texas or Southern California a third-party must certify that the appliance meets specific low NOx (nitrous oxides) requirements. The current requirement is that any emissions being vented directly from the water heater into the atmosphere contain less than 40ng/J of nitrous oxides.
When Gray is Green So, how about recycling our water. really, I’m not kidding. it’s not just possible but becoming a real trend, especially in more arid areas where using anything just one time is seen as irresponsible and wasteful. This “Graywater” is water from showers, laundries, dishwaters, or collected rainwater etc. and is being collected and reused for other non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets and irrigating landscapes. There are even new technologies that allow the gray water to be filtered to the point where it is cleaner than when it came into the home in the first place.
What else is going on?

Did you know that the temperature just six feet under your feet remains at a constant temperature all year around? Geothermal heat pumps can not only heat our water but our homes as well. A geothermal loop system can be installed either straight down or outlying within a trench.

Geothermal power technologies

Image via Wikipedia

 During the summer, excess heat from the house can be returned back to the ground where it is cooled and returned back into the home to cool the house, and vice-a-versa, during the winter, the warmth from the ground can be harvested to heat your home and your domestic potable water supply. I have a co-worker who did this last year and experienced significant savings over the old propane furnace and water heater that she previously had. She also now has central air conditioning that she never had before.
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