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Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures - Green Building Guide

The design of a plumbing fixture to operate with smaller amounts of water helps to save large quantities of water. These are hence called water-saving plumbing fixture which contributes to the development of a green building concept. It is also termed as low-flow plumbing fixtures.



For instance, a toilet flush that was usually made to use 7 gallons per flesh are now available to work by using 1.3 gallons per flush. This brings a saving by 80%.

Read More On: Types of Toilets Based on Style

Importance of Water-Saving Fixtures

The use of low-flow fixtures can reduce the water bill significantly, by offering more sustainable and eco-friendly option for a remodeling or new construction product. Some examples of low-flow fixtures are faucet aerators, low flush toilets, showerheads.

Certain national standards are set for the flow rate of plumbing fixtures by the federal government with the U.S Energy Policy Act 1992. All these acts and improvements in plumbing fixtures are updated over the year to focus on the objective of water conservation and sustainability. In some countries, the government provides rebate to the consumers who use low-flow plumbing alternatives instead of ordinary plumb fixtures.

Types of Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures

The important types of water-saving plumbing fixtures are:

1. Low-Flow Showerheads

2. Low-Flow Toilets

3. Faucets

4. Re-circulating Hot-Water Systems

5. Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs)

1. Low-Flow Showerheads

These are showerheads that reduces the flow rate to less than 2.5 GPM at a water pressure of around 80 pounds psi (per square inch). The two main types of low-flow showerheads are:

Ø Laminar – Flow Showerhead

Ø Aerating low flow showerhead

A laminar-flow showerhead follows the form of streams of water which provides accurate temperature control. An aerating low flow showerhead mix water with air. This forms a misty form of water spray that creates a great amount of steam and moisture.

2. Low-Flow Toilets

These are toilets that have been designed to use half the amount of water that was used by traditional toilets. A normal toilet that uses 3.5 GPF will be reduced to 1.6 GPF. These can be Low-flow-low flush-toilets or ultra-low-flow toilets.

As time passed, techniques was developed to upgrade toilets to such a way that it provides half flush for liquid waste and full-flush for solid waste disposal.

There are gravity-fed-flow toilets that uses the traditional weight of the water to push the waste down the bowl. These toilets are cheap and less noisy when compared to pressure-assisted low flow toilets.

Pressure-assisted low-flow toilets are very noisy but can reduce the amount of water consumption by 45 % when compared to gravity-fed-flow toilets. This works using air pressure that is built within the tank to push down the water.


3. Faucets

Faucet is a regulator for controlling the flow of a liquid. If your faucets consumes water more than 2.5 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) then it is wasting lots of water and money. There are some replacement ideas to this issue:

Ø Replacement of the new faucet which consumes less than 1.5 GPM

Ø Installation of an aerator or flow restrictor which can be added to any faucets

These are some of the cheap modifications that can be made easily and cheaply.

Note* An aerator is a type of gasket that will add air into the water in order to cut down the water flow by maintaining the pressure. Generally, it cuts down the pressure from 2.2 GPM to 1.5 GPM.

4. Recirculating Hot-Water Systems

A recirculating pump system is installed in the plumbing lines that create a loop that would slowly and constantly circulated the water in the hot water pipes back into the water heater for reheating. This means as soon as we open the faucet or turn on a shower, the warm water will be already present in the pipes. So we do not need to waste water down draining while we wait for hot water.

5. Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs)

PRVs are valves that are set on the main water line system of the residential or commercial building in order to reduce the water pressure. For a residential building, home plumbing can work completely fine at a pressure of 35 psi. But, some homes use water pressure at a very higher level.

So it’s the duty of the plumber to assure the water pressure by checking it during the regular maintenance that the pressure is not higher than what is needed. If it is higher, you can add a PRV. This pressure reducing fixtures not only reduce the water pressure, but also reduce the water consumption cost and the increase the lifespan of pipes. High water pressure can bring damage to the water plumb lines.

Also Read:

  1. Ultimate Guide on Pipes for Building Plumbing Applications 
  2. Types of Plumbing System in Building Construction

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2 Comments

Ella Starr said…
Thank you for talking about low-flow showerheads. I am moving into a new home this fall. I will also find a good plumbing system fixture service locally.
Ram Chand said…
Thank You!!
Prodyogi is dedicated to bringing valuable information.
Always welcome :)
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