Water Sense
Frequently Asked Questions
WaterSense Labeled Flushing Urinals
What is the new WaterSense
The new WaterSense specification applies to flush-
ing urinals. Flushing urinals that meet the final
WaterSense specification will use no more than 0.5
gallons per flush (gpf). This is one half of the 1.0 gal-
lon per flush (gpf) federal standard for urinals set
by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Of the 12 million
urinals currently in use in the United States, up to
65 percent are inefficient units with flush volumes
exceeding the 1.0 gpf federal standard, some by as
much as 3.0 gpf. On average, a urinal gets flushed
about 20 times a day; therefore a business will save
4,000 gallons or more per year for every WaterSense
labeled urinal it installs.
How was the final specification for
flushing urinals developed?
All WaterSense specifications are developed
through a process that includes market research,
technical review, and stakeholder input. In devel-
oping the specification, EPA collaborated with
interested parties representing industry, water
utilities, and water-efficiency advocacy groups.
EPA industry and product research, as well nation-
ally recognized performance standards developed
by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
(ASME), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA),
the International Association of Plumbing and
Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), and the American
Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE), form the
basis for the WaterSense flushing urinal specification.
These standards include:
ASME A112.19.2/CSA B45.1 Ceramic Plumbing
• ASME A112.19.3/CSA B45.4 Stainless Steel
Plumbing Fixtures
IAPMO Z124.9 Plastic Urinal Fixtures
ASSE #1037 Performance Requirements for
Pressurized Flushing Devices (Flushometers) for
Plumbing Fixtures
What types of products can earn
the WaterSense label under this
All flushing urinals—meaning those that use water
to convey liquid waste through a trap seal into a
gravity drainage system—can earn the WaterSense
label. This includes both the urinal fixture, which can
be made of ceramic (vitreous china), plastic, or stain-
less steel, and the pressurized (flushometer valve) or
gravity tank-type flushing device.
Non-water urinals, composting urinals, and retrofit
devices or other aftermarket retrofit systems are not
included in the scope of this specification and can-
not earn the WaterSense label at this time.
Why are non-water urinals not
included in this specification?
Non-water urinals, although often very similar in
appearance to flushing urinals, are different in their
design, components, and functionality (i.e., how
they remove waste). In addition, non-water urinals
are subject to significantly different performance
standards than flushing urinals. These standards are
designed to ensure a high level of performance for
non-water urinals, and WaterSense has no basis to
propose improvements to these existing standards
at this time. As a result, WaterSense has no means to
September 2009
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help purchasers distinguish among these products
based on either their efficiency or performance.
Although the specification does not apply to non-
water urinals, it is not WaterSense's intention to
preclude or prevent their use in water efficiency,
green building, or other conservation programs.
Non-water urinals continue to be compatible with
and a key component of, the U.S. Green Building
Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) and other green building programs.
WaterSense encourages designers, program admin-
istrators, and facility managers to consider all avail-
able technologies when making purchasing deci-
sions concerning water-using products, including
non-water urinals. The specification and WaterSense
label are simply one of many tools available to help
consumers make informed purchasing decisions. If
decision-makers decide to specify and install water-
using urinals, then WaterSense encourages them to
choose products with the WaterSense label.
What are the details of the
The WaterSense specification sets the maximum
flush volume for flushing urinals at 0.5 gallons per
flush (gpf), when tested in accordance with national
performance standards (i.e., ASME A112.19.2/CSA
B45.1 [ceramic urinals], ASME A112.19.3/CSA B45.4
[stainless steel urinals], IAPMO Z124.9 [plastic urinals],
ASSE #1037 [pressurized flushing devices]). The speci-
fication also includes three requirements to ensure
the long-term performance and water savings of
these devices. These are:
The primary actuator must be a non-hold-open
design to limit the amount of water released per
flush, regardless of how long the actuator is held
The device's flush volume can be adjustable, but
only to within ± 0.1 gpf of its rated flush volume.
This will allow for field adjustments that may be
necessary depending on building water pressure
or other onsite conditions.
The device should be designed to prohibit the
interchangeability of replaceable or maintain-
able parts with parts that would cause it to
exceed its rated flush volume.
Who will certify that products meet
the specification?
All WaterSense labeled flushing urinals must be
tested and certified by an independent, EPA-
licensed certifying body. Manufacturers can use the
WaterSense label to identify flushing urinal fixtures
and/or flushing devices that are certified to conform
to WaterSense criteria for both performance and effi-
ciency. Only products certified through this process
can bear the WaterSense label.
If flushing devices and urinal fix-
tures are labeled and sold separately,
how will purchasers know which
components should be used togeth-
er to ensure water efficiency and
EPA will maintain a registry of WaterSense labeled
products that are certified and labeled in accordance
with the flushing urinal specification. Within this reg-
istry, EPA will provide tools that will help purchasers
identify flushing devices and urinal fixtures that have
the same rated flush volume in order to ensure that
the complete system meets the requirements of this
specification for water efficiency and performance.
In addition, EPA requires manufacturers to supply
similar information in their product documentation to
facilitate matching of parts that, when used together,
will meet the requirements of the specification.
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Are urinals that meet the
WaterSense specification more
expensive than other urinals?
No. Our product research has found that high-
efficiency urinal fixtures and flushing devices are no
more expensive than their standard (1.0 gpf) coun-
terparts. The average price of a new high-efficiency
or standard urinal fixture is about $350 and the aver-
age cost for a high-efficiency or standard pressurized
flushing device (flushometer valve) is approximately
$200. Because there is very little to no cost differ-
ence between high-efficiency flushing urinals and
standard flushing urinals, installing high-efficiency
models in new construction or as part of the natural
replacement process is cost-effective with immediate
payback in water cost savings.
How much water will a WaterSense
labeled flushing urinal save the
average facility?
Replacing an older, inefficient 1.5 gpf flushing uri-
nal with a 0.5 gpf WaterSense labeled flushing uri-
nal can save as much as 4,600 gallons of water per
year. This assumes that the average urinal is flushed
approximately 18 times per day and is in use 260
days per year. Replacing that same older urinal with a
WaterSense labeled flushing urinal with a 0.25 or 0.125
gpf flush volume could save more than 5,800 and
6,400 gallons of water per year per urinal, respectively.
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