WaterSense pre-rinse spray valves to help food establishments save water and energy
To help restaurants and other food service establishments save water and energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense program has released its first draft specification for a commercial kitchen fixture. Water-saving pre-rinse spray valves, which help kitchen staff wash pots and remove excess food from dishes, offer a significant opportunity for energy and cost savings as well.
Pre-rinse spray valves can account for one-third of water use and cost a restaurant nearly $600 per year in water and natural gas bills. Replacing one of these valves with a WaterSense-labeled model could save more than 7,000 gal of water per year, equivalent to the amount it takes to wash nearly 5,000 racks of dishes. It also will save energy by using less hot water, saving the facility up to $115 per year in operating costs.
Like all WaterSense-labeled products, these valves will be independently certified to both save water and perform well. EPA's draft specification sets the maximum flow rate for WaterSense-labeled pre-rinse spray valves at 1.28 gal per minute, which is 20% less water than the federal standard. To ensure that these fixtures will work well while using less water, EPA also included spray force performance criteria and a requirement for life-cycle testing for pre-rinse spray valves to earn the WaterSense label.
EPA consulted with manufacturers, distributors, utilities and other stakeholders to develop this draft specification. Stakeholders can review the specification on the WaterSense website and should submit comments no later than April 8, 2013.