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checkEvaluate and optimize faucet water flows.

All PIM content was independently developed and reviewed to be vendor-, product-, and service provider-neutral.


Installation of simple, low-cost devices can reduce water consumption at existing faucets with minimal impact on performance.

  • Project Talking Points

    As an alternative to complete fixture and faucet replacement, installation of low-cost devices such as laminar flow reducers will reduce water consumption.

  • Triple Bottom Line Benefits

    • Cost benefits: Reduced water, sewer, and energy costs due to reductions in potable water consumption and water heating.
    • Environmental benefits: Using less water reduces the amount withdrawn from natural water bodies, protecting the natural water cycle and decreasing strain on municipal or other sources of water supply where resources are diminishing.  Reducing potable water use also decreases the energy use and emissions associated with treating, supplying, and heating the water.
    • Social benefits: Reducing water use by making inexpensive upgrades saves resources that can be applied to the health care mission of a hospital. Water conservation supports environmental stewardship and healthy communities.
    • Quality and outcomes - Metrics are in development. If you have suggestions, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.
  • Purchasing Considerations

    If you have suggestions for purchasing considerations, or suggested sample contract language for any product or contracted service, please participate in the discussion below.

  • How-To

    1. Complete a faucet inventory of all kitchen sinks, process sinks, hand-washing stations and other lavatories. Document existing flow rates where possible.
    2. Consider the following fixture improvements:
      • Laminar flow reducers can be installed on sink faucets
      • Spray-type flow restrictors (non-aerating) can be installed on ultra low-flow hand washing station faucets (e.g., in public restrooms)
      • Faucet controls can be upgraded to sensor- operated faucets for increased efficiency and reduced risk of infection due to contact. However, keep in mind that sensor- operated faucets can have an increased risk of Legionella (more in this whitepaper).
      • Kitchen spray rinsers can be replaced with low-flow models with automatic shut-off valves
    3. Contact your vendor to identify faucet retrofit or upgrade options that are appropriate for health care applications. Keep in mind additional factors including:
      • Aerators that introduce air into the water stream are not recommended, and in some cases not permitted, for use in health care environments because of the risk that contaminated air (drawn from the room) could be introduced into the water stream. Also, stagnant water tends to collect above the aerator between uses, providing a likely place for bacteria from the contaminated air to flourish.
      • Laminar flow restrictors are recommended because they do not draw air into the water stream.
      • Care should be taken when considering changes to faucets in patient areas as the risk for bacterial build up is higher.
    4. Quantify improvement costs vs. potential water savings to determine the highest return on investment (ROI) for faucets and upgrades. Improvements in areas of high use (e.g., public restrooms) will have a better ROI than improving the faucet in a patient room, for example.
    5. Contact your local water utility to see if they offer incentives or free upgrade devices.
    6. Consult local codes for faucet flow requirements as they may vary by jurisdiction.
  • Tools

    Product finder  - A vendor-supplied warehouse for devices specific to flow type and rate.

    If you have an ROI tool, calculator, or similar resources to share, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • Case Studies

    Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, N.C. (See p. 35 of the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources' Water Efficiency Manual)

    • Key Point
      • Realized 90 percent urinal water savings by adjusting urinal timer settings.

    Department of Defense Exchange Facilities – Commercial Kitchen Equipment (U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Management Program, Best Management Practice Case Study #11)

    • Key Points
      • The Exchange, formerly the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), developed a sustainability policy that includes integrating water efficiency concepts into their plan and objectives.
      • As a result, the organization upgraded their commercial kitchen equipment to improve water efficiency.

    Huntington Veteran Affairs Medical Center – Faucet and Showerhead Replacement Project (U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Management Program, Best Management Practice Case Study #7)

    • Key Points
      • The Huntington Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center implemented an award-winning faucet and showerhead water efficiency program in 2007.
      • The efficiency improvements save the medical center more than 1.5 million gallons of water each year.

    Milton Hospital Case Study #5 (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority - Water Efficiency and Management for Hospitals)

  • Regulations, Codes and Standards, Policies

  • Cross References: LEED

  • Cross References: GGHC

    • Operations: Facilities Management FM Prerequisite 4: Minimum Indoor Plumbing Fixture and Fitting Efficiency
    • Operations: Facilities Management Credit FM 2.1-2.5: Potable Water Use Reduction: Total Building Reduction
    • Operations: Facilities Management Credit FM 4.1: Building Operations & Maintenance: Staff Education
    • Operations: Facilities Management Credit FM 4.2: Building Operations & Maintenance: Building Systems Maintenance
  • Cross References: EEP

    If you have sample environmentally preferable purchasing language for products or contracted services to share, or other related resources, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.

  • PIM Synergies

  • Education Resources

    If you have any information or resources to contribute, please contact us or participate in the discussion below

  • More Resources

  • PIM Descriptors


    Level: Beginner

    Category List:

    • Plumbing Fixtures
    • WATER

    PIM Attributes:

    • Basic Device Upgrades

    Improvement Type:

    • Retrofit


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