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DOE Proposes New Showerhead Definition and Test Procedure That Could Reduce Water Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed a new rule that would change the definitions of showerheads and their test procedures in a way that would greatly reduce their water efficiency. The new rules come after President Trump’s pledge in January to get “rid of the restrictors”.

The new definitions for showerhead proposed is as follows: "Showerhead means any showerhead (including a handheld showerhead) other than a safety shower showerhead." Additionally, the term "showerhead" would mean "An accessory to a supply fitting for spraying water onto a bather, typically from an overhead position.” 

Under DOE’s proposed definition, manufacturers could make a device with several “showerheads” on it, each of which could be 2.5 gpm, rather than the total being 2.5 gpm.

The issue was debated before almost a decade ago, after which the DOE stated: “[I]t has always been the Department’s view that when Congress used the term ‘any showerhead’ it actually meant ‘any showerhead’ – and that a showerhead with multiple nozzles constitutes a single showerhead for purposes of [the] water conservation standard.”

Additionally, the proposal seeks to eliminate the terms "body spray" and "safety shower showerhead" from the current definition. Body sprays and safety showerheads would not be subject to DOE’s test procedures and efficiency standards.

“This is a dramatic step backward in water efficiency,” said AWE President and CEO Mary Ann Dickinson. “It is unconscionable for the Federal government to be adopting regulations that date back to the 1980s, when we are now facing water resource scarcity in 40 of the 50 states.”

Written comments may be submitted until September 13. Visit regulations.gov to submit comments.

Click here to view the full proposal for showerheads.

The DOE has also proposed new Clothes Washer Standards that could impact efficiency as well.

Click here to view the full proposal for clothes washers.

A similar “short-cycle” rule was proposed for dishwasher standards. The DOE has also proposed a policy to reduce future efficiency standards for furnaces and other gas appliances.



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