Better information alone doesn’t make a product green, but it does make it a lot easier to see just how green that product actually is. We can make more informed purchasing decisions when we know what’s in a product, not just manufacturer’s claims about what it’s “free-of”; and when we know the actual environmental impacts of manufacturing the product relative to alternatives, not just a trade association’s claim that it’s “green.” Making information public can also help manufacturers get greener. It’s often the manufacturers that are already greener that are willing to share more information in the first place, but in the process of doing so they see where they still need to improve. Products with Environmental Product Declarations are included here, along with products with other forms of disclosure, such as products from companies that participate in the Global Reporting Initiative, or provide full disclosure of ingredients, potentially via the Health Product Declaration format. GreenSpec also lists products that help track buildings' energy and water performance, especially when those tracking tools can be used to publicly display or report energy and water usage.
All toilets and most showerheads today meet the federal water-efficiency standards, but not all of these products perform satisfactorily. With toilets and showerheads, we include products that meet or exceed WaterSense standards, which includes performance requirements—although we go beyond WaterSense where there are issues not adequately addressed by the program. We also look for other products that conserve potable water, such as rainwater catchment and graywater recovery and reuse systems.
The German company SIKA offers a small point-of-use water meter that can be attached directly to a shower, urinal, or other fixtures to track and display water usage data. The information can then be downloaded via optical sensor or sent wirelessly and accessed remotely via any Internet-connected device. Often used in multi-tenant buildings, offices, and hotels, these water meters can be used in hot or cold water and can be attached to pressure flushers. They are available in white or clear and in a “split” version, where the mechanism and display are separate for easier installation and viewing. A 10-year lithium ion battery is standard.
Many conservation efforts—in industrial, commercial, and residential settings—are making significant improvements in water-use efficiency. These advances are also reducing our wastewater treatment burden and expense. Products listed here dispense water efficiently or improve controllability of the water supply.
To qualify for GreenSpec, bathroom faucets must have a flow of 1.0 gallons per minute or less. Kitchen faucets may be up to 2.5 gallons per minute, but should be installed with foot- or other controls to prevent long periods of running.
Many conservation efforts—in industrial, commercial, and residential settings—are making significant improvements in water-use efficiency. These advances are also reducing our wastewater treatment burden and expense.
EPA's WaterSense program has developed a specification for bathroom sink faucets. In order to receive the WaterSense label, a bathroom faucet must have a maximum flow rate of no more than 1.5 gpm.
WaterSense has not yet developed a specification for kitchen sink faucets, but many manufacturers offer faucets with a flow rate of 1.5 gpm, 32% below the industry standard of 2.2 gpm. As kitchen sinks are often used to fill pots, a lower flow rate is not always optimal. Several manufacturers have introduced kitchen faucets with adjustable flow rates for convenience and water conservation.
GreenSpec lists products that dispense water efficiently, increase the energy efficiency of associated plumbing, or improve controllability of the water supply, such as foot pedal controls that help prevent long periods of running water. GreenSpec lists bathroom faucets that deliver water at a maximum of 1.0 gpm and kitchen faucets that offer adjustable flow rates or other benefits.
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