The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program released a final specification for water- and energy-efficient commercial pre-rinse spray valves, the first commercial kitchen product eligible to earn the WaterSense label. Pre-rinse spray valves — used in commercial food service establishments to remove food waste from dishes prior to dishwashing — can account for nearly one-third of the water used in the typical commercial kitchen.
WaterSense-labeled pre-rinse spray valves offer significant water, energy and cost savings. By installing a WaterSense-labeled pre-rinse spray valve, a commercial kitchen could save more than 7,000 gal of water annually and the amount of energy needed to power its convection oven for more than three weeks. In addition, the facility could reduce its water and energy costs by more than $115 per year and see payback on its investment in as little as four to eight months. If every commercial kitchen in the U.S. installed and used a WaterSense-labeled pre-rinse spray valve, it could save more than 10 billion gal of water, more than $95 million in water costs and $130 million in energy costs across the country annually.
Like all WaterSense-labeled products, pre-rinse spray valves must be independently certified to save water and perform well. EPA’s specification sets the maximum flow rate for pre-rinse spray valves at 1.28 gal per minute, which is 20% less than the federal standard. To ensure these fixtures perform as expected 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.
WaterSense worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop the performance criteria, including Energy Star, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Canadian Standards Assn., manufacturers, water and energy utilities, testing laboratories, representatives from ASTM Intl., and other stakeholders.