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DOE Moves to Reverse Showerhead Rule Change

In December of last year, under the direction of former President Trump, the DOE changed the definition of showerheads toa component or set of components distributed in commerce for attachment to a single supply fitting, for spraying water onto a bather, typically from an overhead position, excluding safety shower showerheads.”

The new interpretation meant showers could have multiple heads, each dispensing 2.5 gpm – a major step back for water efficiency standards.

The action was part of a promise Trump made to roll back regulations. “You take a shower, the water doesn’t come out,” Trump said at the White House last July. “You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out. So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair — I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect.”

The DOE has now announced it has undertaken review of the change and “has tentatively determined that EPCA’s definition of showerhead is ambiguous and that the December 2020 Final Rule’s definition of “showerhead” is not consistent with EPCA’s purposes: to conserve water by improving water efficiency of certain plumbing products and appliances and to improve energy efficiency of major appliances and consumer products.”

The DOE went on further saying: DOE also proposes to withdraw the definition of “body spray” adopted in the December 2020 Final Rule. DOE believes that the current definition of “body spray” is inconsistent with the express purpose of EPCA to conserve water by improving the water efficiency of certain plumbing products and appliances as the definition may lead to increased water use and does not best address the relationship between body sprays and showerheads. This is because the only difference between a “body spray” and a “showerhead” is the installation location, as shown by the similar treatment of the two products in the marketplace. DOE does not propose any changes to the definition of “safety shower showerhead” as leaving the term undefined may cause confusion about what products are subject to the energy conservation standards.

Because of procedure, the reversal will take a few months to take effect, but the change is a win for water efficiency advocates.

Read the DOE’s proposal here: https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-07/Showerheads%20Definition%20NOPR%2007.15.21_%20for%20FR.pdf



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