UNAR and ecoEnergy
Uniform North American Requirements (UNAR) for Toilet Fixtures
For a number of years, individual water agencies and municipalities in both the U.S. and Canada developed their own toilet fixture specifications and "approved lists" for their rebate programs. These lists were sometimes quite arbitrary and were frequently different from one another. It was apparent to both water conservation professionals and the plumbing industry that uniformity would benefit many stakeholders - water conservation and efficiency programs, the plumbing industry and, of course, the consumer looking for the rebate. Thus, began the development of a set of common or uniform requirements to end much of the confusion.
Representatives of the conservation interests from some of the largest water providers in North America met in January 2004 to initiate the development of a uniform set of minimum requirements for toilets subsidized through their water conservation programs. UNAR serves the following goals:
- Assists the plumbing industry in the development of superior products that:
- meet customer expectations for flushing performance, and
- sustain water savings over the life of the fixtures by restricting maximum flush volumes and requiring chemical-resistant tank trim components.
- Measures performance and water savings against a scientifically based set of criteria.
- Serve as an aid to development of the WaterSense Program for toilet fixtures.
In summary, UNAR is a voluntary qualification system adopted by those water authorities that believe it is critical to: (1) achieve sustainable water savings from toilet fixture replacements, and (2) ensure a high level of customer satisfaction with flushing performance.
NOTE: The ecoEnergy program requirements for toilet fixtures are a Canadian counterpart to UNAR; requirements are identical between the two programs.
What comprises UNAR and ecoEnergy?
UNAR incorporates elements of the Maximum Performance (MaP) toilet fixture testing protocol together with the Los Angeles Supplementary Purchase Specification (SPS) requirements for chemical resistant flappers and a maximum flush volume under maximum adjustment conditions. Both the MaP and the SPS have been instrumental in driving the development of high-performance toilet fixtures with sustainable water savings. Combined into UNAR, they improved the ability of the plumbing industry and the water utilities to achieve continuing water savings through satisfied customers.
UNAR and ecoEnergy encompass two tiers of performance:
(a) Conventional toilet fixtures flushing at 1.3 to 1.6 gallons (4.9 L to 6.0 L) and
(b) High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) flushing at 1.28 gallons (4.84 L) or less.
NOTE: There are no UNAR-ecoEnergy requirements for toilets that exceed 1.6 gpf (6.0 Lpf), even though such products are available in Canada.
After a period of time in which UNAR proved to be a viable avenue to better, more-efficient product, the UNAR specification for HETs was used as a foundation for the new WaterSense specification for HETs. In most aspects, the UNAR-HET specification is identical to the WaterSense specification.
A current listing of all fixtures qualified as meeting the UNAR-ecoEnergy requirements may be found on the MaP web site.
Because of the success of the WaterSense program as it pertains to plumbing products and the quantity and diversity of HET model offerings, UNAR-HET listings will no longer be regularly posted and issued. Instead, UNAR-HET lists will be developed and posted only on a sporadic basis, if at all. However, for 2010, UNAR-ULFT listings for 6-litre/1.6-gallon toilets will continue to be developed and posted specifically for those few water utilities still engaged in rebating these fixtures.