CalGreen Plumbing Fixture Requirements
CalGreen plumbing fixture requirements are intended to reduce water consumption for all residential and commercial buildings. These requirements exceed the requirements in the California Plumbing Code.
The intent of CalGreen is to move the State of California to a more sustainable future. Efficient water use is critical for all California residents and businesses. As our population increases we may not have enough water to support our needs. Water conservation in buildings is just one aspect of California’s goal to reduce water consumption.
Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban, although the percentage of water use by sector varies dramatically across regions and between wet and dry years.
The San Francisco Bay and South Coast regions account for most urban water use in California. Total urban water use has been falling even as the population grows. For example, water use had declined from 231 gallons per day in 1990 to 180 gallons per day in 2010. Water use in California continues to decline due, in part, to the plumbing fixture requirements of the CalGreen Code.
CalGreen Code Goals
A primary goal of the CalGreen plumbing fixture requirements is to reduce water consumption in all new buildings. A detailed study provided the following breakdown of water usage in a new high efficiency home. It is interesting to note that the shower, and not the toilet, has become the largest consumer of water. This is due to the code changes requiring low flow toilets.
The recent study that included 1200 high efficiency homes revealed the average water use per day was 110 gallons. This is in comparison to homes built before 1995 which had an average usage of 177 gallons.
Let’s just take a minute to do the math here. In 2018 approximately 80,000 new homes were built in California. The water savings per year from just these new homes equals:
80,000 homes x 67 gallons per day x 365 days per year = 1,956,400,000 gallons!
Nearly 2 billion gallons of water saved, per year. So how much, really, is two billion gallons? Here’s some equivalent comparisons:
- Enough water to irrigate 15,372 golf courses
- 40 million baths
- Enough water to serve 20,000 homes for a year
Again, this is the water savings from a single year of new home construction. The impact of the CalGreen Code is enormous by any standard. There can be no more compelling reason to support the basis for the CalGreen plumbing fixture requirements.
CalGreen Code Requirements
CalGreen has fixture requirements for both residential and commercial buildings. Additionally, the code has more restrictive requirements for Tier 1 and Tier 2 compliance.
The 2022 CalGreen Code will not have any changes to the plumbing fixture requirements from the 2019 code. The following CalGreen table includes both residential and commercial plumbing fixture maximum flow rates.
The Tier 1 residential water requirements change maximum the flow rate for kitchen faucets to 1.5 gallons per minute. The Tier 1 non-residential water usage requires a combined 12 percent reduction in water usage for the building.
Tier 2 increases the non-residential requirement to a further 20 percent saving. In addition there are water reduction requirements for commercial plumbing appliances and fixtures.
Plumbing Fixture Rebates
As more new homes and buildings are constructed, California’s average daily water use will continue to drop. In addition, rebates for replacement of existing fixtures are available in many areas. This will further add to the reduction in water use.
The State of California water rebate program has expired. However, many counties on the state have their own rebate program. You can look your up here.
At CalGreen Energy Services we are specialists in CalGreen plumbing requirements. CalGreen is our only business. If you have a CalGreen plumbing question please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to share our knowledge.
For more information on the CalGreen Code, please follow the link:
Call us today and let us show you how we can help with your project.
Gary Welch has over 35 years experience in the field of sustainable building design. He is the CEO of CalGreen Energy Services. Gary is an ICC Certified CalGreen Special Inspector and Plans Examiner.