WaterSense Certified: The Complete Guide to Water Efficient Faucets, Toilets and Showerheads

A child washing their hands using water-efficient faucets

When was the last time you replaced a fixture in your home or commercial building? If it's been a while (or they were already there when you took responsibility for the structure), it's time to consider WaterSense-certified, water-efficient faucets, toilets, and showerheads.

WaterSense-certified fixtures are part of the Green Building initiative, which develops sustainable building design principles (like installing water-efficient fixtures) that improve the environmental impact of that structure.  

Here are a few ways it will benefit you and the environment to replace your fixtures with WaterSense-certified products. First, take a moment to learn what it means for a product to be WaterSense-certified and why it matters.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only 3% of the world's water is freshwater, and less than 2% of that is drinkable water, and these numbers are declining.
  • Faucets with a WaterSense label can reduce the water flow by 30%, meaning you use less water each time you use the sink and still get the water pressure you expect.
  • There are three types of eater-efficient toilet models to consider, including residential models, commercial-grade fixtures, and urinals.
  • A single WaterSense showerhead installed in a residential or commercial building can save 2,900 gallons of water per year and roughly $70 on utility bills.
  • WaterSense water-saving products and practices are ever-evolving to meet new standards as technology advances, and consumer demands increase.

What Is the WaterSense Label and Why Does it Matter? 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the Water-Sense program to help develop standards of efficiency and conservation best practices. The program makes it easy to locate and select the best water-efficient products by placing the WaterSense label on every product certified. 

Independent, third-party certification backs these products. They do this to guarantee that the WaterSense-certified products meet the EPA's performance and water efficiency specifications. 

Benefits of These WaterSense Certified Water-Efficient Fixtures

Water is a rapidly depleting natural resource. While the world's surface is mostly water, only 3% of the Earth's water is freshwater. Just under 2% of that is drinkable water because two-thirds are in polar ice caps and glaciers frozen, and these numbers are declining due to global warming.

Preservation is why the EPA initiated the WaterSense program. Yet, there are more than just ecological benefits when you replace inefficient fixtures with WaterSense Certified models. Let's evaluate all the reasons to install water-efficient faucets, toilets, and showerheads. 

Water-Efficient Faucets   

WaterSense-certified bathroom faucets that use 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) of water per flush reduce that fixture's water flow by roughly 30% throughout its lifecycle. It does this without sacrificing the faucet's performance, meaning you won't lose water pressure with a durable, low-flow fixture

Aerators are an essential fitting for any water-saving faucet that can save hundreds of gallons of water per year. Check to ensure all your faucets have properly functioning vandal-proof aerators. Replace ones that don't work correctly and install them in faucets that do not have them.

Along with water conservation, water-efficient faucets with the WaterSense label could save nearly $1.3 billion in energy and water costs collectively for every household in America. Wouldn't it be nice to get your slice of that savings pie? 

Water-Efficient Toilets   

Infograph of how much savings comes with a WaterSense model toilet

The EPA lists the toilet as the single largest source of water consumption in commercial or residential buildings. The federal standard for the amount of water a toilet is allowed to use is 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF)

The passing of the 1992 Energy Policy Act (EPAct) set these guidelines. Unfortunately, toilets manufactured before 1994 do not comply with these standards, meaning it might be time for you to replace the old, inefficient fixtures in your home or commercial building.

Purchasing toilets with a WaterSense label ensures you are replacing your old fixture with one that conserves water and falls within the federal guidelines for efficiency.

There are three general types of water-efficient toilets with WaterSense labels, each with its own eco-friendly benefits, including:

  • Residential models: These fixtures account for roughly 30% of indoor water consumption in the average American home. Inefficient toilets can use as much as six gallons of water per flush. A water-saving model could save 13,000 gallons of water each year. 
  • Commercial models: There are approximately 27 million commercial toilets with smart flush technology installed in commercial and institutional buildings in the U.S. Toilets with smart flush technology that uses no more than 1.28 GPF will save 20% over those that fall within the 1.6 GPF federal standard.
  • Urinals: These fixtures primarily get installed in commercial and industrial applications. However, recent residential bathroom trends have people installing urinal systems (along with concealed cisterns) in their homes. They use less water than a toilet (roughly 26,000 excess gallons per year), and some models don't use water at all.

Water-Efficient Showerheads

Infograph of how much water WaterSense showerheads save


Americans use roughly 1.2 trillion gallons of water a year showering. That is enough water to supply New Jersey and New York State for roughly a year. 

When you retrofit your shower with a showerhead with a WaterSense label, you save a substantial amount of water (which equates to reduced utility costs). 

Replacing just one inefficient showerhead with one with a WaterSense label can save approximately 2,700 to 2,900 gallons of water annually.

Did you know that the typical, inefficient showerhead uses approximately 2.5 GPM? A WaterSense-certified showerhead uses less than 2.0 GPM. That reduces usage (and therefore costs) by 20-25%.  


Previously Labeled WaterSense Products

Due to efficiency standard changes, advancements in technology, and marketplace demand, the WaterSense program has reset some product specifications. That allows the EPA to direct resources towards addressing other water-saving products and practices. 

Repositioning the program's stringent performance and water efficiency criteria to a national standard is a significant accomplishment for WaterSense and stakeholders throughout the water-efficiency community. EPA is looking forward to supporting additional market transformations for other efficient products that use water.

Chicago Faucets: A Proud WaterSense Partner  

To do your part to promote sustainability in your home or business, start replacing your old faucets, toilets, and showerheads with new water-efficient models.

At Chicago Faucets, we are proud to partner with the EPA and the WaterSense program to help protect the future of our worldwide water supply. We do this by manufacturing sustainably made plumbing products that promote water efficiency and enhance the market for water-efficient plumbing solutions, programs, and practices.

Upgrade your faucets, toilets, and showerheads with WaterSense water-efficient models. Contact us today to learn more about our fixtures and the WaterSense program.

Topics: Innovation in building technology, WaterSense certified, water-efficient toilets, water-efficient faucets