The EPA is trying to get manufacturers to create more water-efficient products and showcase this effort to businesses/consumers through its new WaterSense label. To obtain the label, manufacturers will need to work with a third-party testing organization to verify the efficiency of their products.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced today a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide testing and certification services for the EPA’s WaterSense program. This new initiative safeguards the U.S. water supply by identifying and promoting more water-efficient products and services.

As an EPA-approved certification organization, UL works with manufacturers to help them obtain the WaterSense label for plumbing products that demonstrate at least 20 percent greater efficiency in water utilization. The WaterSense label is currently available for high-efficiency toilets and irrigation control technologies, and the EPA plans to include other product categories in the near future.

“In the growing market for environmentally responsible products, UL is positioned to help manufacturers compete more effectively,” said Ann Marie Gebhart, UL Water Program Director. “In addition to participating in the development of codes and standards, UL’s expertise in certifying products for the plumbing industry spans more than 75 years.”

A recent government survey showed that 36 states anticipate local, regional or statewide water shortages by 2013. The EPA launched the WaterSense program in 2006 to address this issue by encouraging manufacturers to produce high-efficiency products and services that conserve water. WaterSense is a voluntary labeling program available to all companies that manufacture, sell or distribute household plumbing fixtures.

Certified products will be included on an EPA product registry and will bear the WaterSense label. In addition, UL will list all products certified for WaterSense at:  

Other facts about the WaterSense program:

 ^The EPA is focusing on high-efficiency toilets during the initial phase of th eWaterSense program. To qualify for the label, a toilet must consume no more than 1.28 gallons per flush while successfully meeting all required performance testing. The EPA plans to expand the WaterSense program to other product categories, such as high-efficiency bathroom sink faucets, showerheads, irrigation control equipment and other commercial equipment.

^UL’s certification process will consist of product testing and annual field inspections to monitor continued compliance. Additional testing requirements can be found at

^ WaterSense is similar to ENERGY STAR, a joint program between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps businesses save money and protect the environment by creating and using energy-efficient products and practices. In 2006, products bearing the ENERGY STAR label saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the output of 25 million cars. With WaterSense, manufacturers are required to work with an approved independent testing organization to use the program’s label.

UL’s participation in WaterSense further expands its offerings to plumbing and water equipment manufacturers. UL recently launched a new Plumbing Mark for the benefit of manufacturers, users, installers, regulators and consumers. This Mark clearly identifies plumbing products that comply with U.S. health-effects requirements and performance standards. Products bearing the Mark are deemed suitable for use in accordance with both the International Plumbing Code (IPC) and the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). For more information on the Plumbing Mark or UL’s participation in WaterSense, contact Tom Bowman at 847-664-3796 or visit: