Fixtures, Appliances, and Equipment

Installing water-efficient fixtures, appliances, and equipment around the home and in commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities can produce significant water savings, and incentivizing their installation by the customer is a very common water utility water conservation strategy.

Combination ovens are designed to provide food service operators with a choice of three basic cooking functions with a single oven cavity.  The oven creates two primary heat transfer sources: connectionless steam (without a central boiler connection) and convection hot air (dry).  These two heat sources may be utilized individually or in combination, creating three primary cooking modes.

Commercial dishwashers are considered to be one of the largest water and energy consumers in the commercial kitchen, often using more than two-thirds of the overall water use. The equipment can vary widely in size and shape.

According to the Business Energy Advisor, there are nearly three million ice-makers in hospitals, restaurants, hotels and other establishments in the United States. Ice machine energy and water use is rated on how much energy and water is used to make 100 pounds of ice. The water and energy efficiency of commercial ice-makers varies significantly among the many equipment models on the market.

Food steamers come in two varieties: boiler-based and boilerless (connectionless). A field study was conducted by the Food Service Technology Center to determine the water and energy use profiles of both boiler-based and boilerless (connectionless) food steamers.

Dipper wells are perpetual-flow sinks that are used to clean small utensils, and are most commonly found in coffee shops, ice cream stores, juice bars, full-service restaurants, and fast food chains. 

In arid climates, some homes are cooled by evaporative coolers, sometimes called swamp coolers or desert coolers. The devices use the evaporation of water to cool the air sent into the home, and are most often connected to the home water supply to maintain water in the cooler’s reservoir. 

In the past, faucets were not a primary focus of water efficiency advocates, given that the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 92) and subsequent EPAct actions limited faucet flows to 2.2 gpm (8.3 L) (at 60 psi) and that seemed to be a sufficient level of efficiency.

The purpose of humidifiers is to add moister to the air, adding comfort and energy efficiency during the winter heating season.  There are two basic types of humidifiers, from a water use perspective: self-contained room humidifiers; and central humidifiers, usually attached to central forced-air heating systems. Listed below is background information and water efficiency considerations for both types of humidifiers. 

Irrigation sprinkler heads are an integral part of many residential and commercial irrigation systems designed to distribute water to the landscape. While sprinkler heads come in myriad sizes, shapes, brands, and styles, there are four basic types of sprinkler heads which are described in detail below...

Meter flow restrictors are small devices that, when properly installed on a water meter, severely limit the flow of water without stopping the flow completely.  Over the past few years, these devices have gained attention for their potential as alternatives to water shutoffs due to customer nonpayment.

Since their introduction, hundreds of thousands of non-water high efficiency urinals have been installed here in North America, savings millions of gallons/litres of water each year.

Plumbing codes and standards are important driving forces in water efficiency. The nuances within both standards and codes can have major impacts on creating more water efficient products and infrastructure.  

Typically, pre-rinse spray valves are located in restaurants and food service operations where prior to loading the dishwasher, plates and dishes are manually sprayed (pre-rinsed) to remove loose or ‘sticky’ food. Overall, the washing of dishes typically consumes two-thirds of all water use from the restaurant, and the water used in this pre-rinsing operation is...

With rare exception, re-circulating showers are not designed or operate in a water efficient manner. These systems are often called “vertical body spas” and they often use more water than a typical shower or bath. The re-circulation pumps require a reservoir of water in the shower basin to properly operate.

Washing laundry is a large water user in the average home; accounting for 16% of the overall water consumption inside single family homes in North America according to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water Study. Before new standards were adopted in 2010, traditional clothes washers used approximately 30 to 45 gallons (113.6 L to 170.3 L) of water per load. 

Water used to wash and rinse hair represents a major portion of water use in hair salons and the greatest portion of water used in pet grooming. Existing salon and pet sprayers can have maximum flow rates as high as 5.0 Gallons Per Minute (gpm) (19 Lpm), but often average approximately 4.0 gpm (15 Lpm) at the highest flow settings.  

The growth of sensors in the "touchless” commercial restroom has been in large part due to the concern for hygiene and health, since fixtures do not need to be touched with the hand in order to activate flow. In the past several years, sensor-activated toilet flush valves and faucet sensors have been a topic of much conversation.

Shower flow restrictors are simple orifices intended to lower the flow rate of the showerhead and thereby reduce total water consumption. Restrictors can either be an integral (but removable) part of a new showerhead or they can be “after-market” inserts that are installed at a point between the shower arm and the showerhead itself. 

Shower timers are available in a variety of configurations, including the hourglass sand timer type, and digital models. Relatively inexpensive (in quantity), these egg-timer type gadgets are frequently favored as “giveaways” by water utilities and are entirely passive.

Newer showerhead designs employ multiple sprays types to take advantage of the beneficial aspects of each type of head. These “hybrid” showerheads have resulted in greater consumer satisfaction and water savings. A utility planning to implement a showerhead replacement program should choose products very carefully.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency carefully tracks state-level laws regarding water efficiency fixture standards. View and download the Official AWE State Fixture Standard Matrix on this page.

Steam sterilizers, a subcategory of autoclaves, are utilized in three major applications: hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and research institutions. They are used to disinfect (1) surgical instruments in hospitals and (2) instruments and apparatus used in the research and manufacture of products where sterilization is essential.

Swimming pools and spas, located in both residential and commercial settings, have varying levels of water use. Relevant factors determining water use include feature size, climate-driven evaporation, leakage, use of a pool cover, and more. 

Over the past 25 years, numerous retrofit devices for tank-type toilets have been developed, patented, and, in some cases, actively sold in the marketplace. These devices usually fall into one of three categories: water displacement products, early-closing toilet flappers, and dual-flush conversion devices.

Toilet fixture replacement has been a staple of the water industry’s initiatives to reduce potable water consumption since the late 1980s. It still represents one of today’s most popular water efficiency initiatives, as the first “program of choice” by water providers embarking on their initial foray into hardware-related conservation.

Different types of flushing urinals have existed in North America for many years with little technological change.  In the early 1990s, however, the first non-water (waterless) urinal in North America was introduced. Since then, other urinal technologies have likewise surfaced that individually save almost as much water as the non-water design.

Water brooms are a type of pressure washer that is used to clean a variety of surfaces for both residential and commercial properties. 

All wok cooking requires some water.  The “waterless” wok is so named because it reduces water use in many ways.