Energy efficiency and water efficiency go hand in hand, especially when it comes to hot water. After all, the more hot water a home uses, the more energy it takes to heat it. So for builders interested in improving the energy efficiency and performance of their water-heating systems, it pays to monitor the guidelines for the EPA’s WaterSense program.
In Plumbing & Mechanical, Tim den Hartog offers a summary of the water-efficient products and practices covered by WaterSense specifications. Among them are extensive guidelines for hot water.
“Running water down the drain while waiting for hot water to get to the tap wastes 10,000 gallons each year in the average American household, according to the EPA,” he writes. “Research has suggested that water waste could be reduced by 90% if homes are constructed with efficient systems that address plumbing design, pipe insulation, demand recirculation, and drain heat recovery.”
Demand-initiated hot-water recirculation systems are one strategy to help reduce that water waste, and one advantage of propane tankless water heaters is that they’re available with a recirculation pump built in. Whether or not you’re going for the WaterSense label, it’s a smart strategy to improve water savings in areas where water is at a premium.