See the Archer toilet.

July 1, 2011 is the date that the final water efficiency provisions of the California Green Building Code, or CalGreen, go into effect.  CalGreen sets requirements for all new residential and commercial buildings in California, and was developed as a way to help the state meet its aggressive energy and water conservation goals.

For indoor plumbing, CalGreen’s goal is to reduce the consumption of water by at least 20%.  You can either estimate the water use of your fixtures and faucets as compared to a baseline to demonstrate a 20% overall reduction, or choose products that each use 20% less water.  If you do the latter, choose products that meet the following water efficiency requirements:

Toilets:                 1.28 gallons per flush

Urinals:                 0.5 gallons per flush

Bathroom Faucets:          1.5 gallons per minute

Kitchen Faucets:               1.8 gallons per minute

Commercial Faucets:      0.4 gallons per minute

Showers:             2.0 gallons per minute total flow at any given time

See the Simplice kitchen faucet.

While there is some concern about how other parts of CalGreen will impact the cost of construction, I don’t anticipate the plumbing changes to add much cost.  Over the past years, Kohler has been developing a complete line of products that meet EPA’s WaterSense requirements, and all of these are CalGreen-compliant.  These products are priced the same as less-efficient versions.

Using water wisely makes sense everywhere—it saves you money and helps extend our water supplies.  So even if you don’t live in California, look for WaterSense-labeled Kohler products next time you build or remodel!