DOE Proposal Would Reverse Weakened Showerhead Standard

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is acting to reverse a rule passed in December 2020 that changed the energy-efficiency standards for showerheads. According to the 2020 rule, for devices with multiple showerheads, each showerhead could emit up to the limit of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). The previous rule limited the entire device to emitting up to 2.5 gpm. The new proposal would revert to the showerhead standards previously set.

The Energy Department also is proposing to remove the definition of body spray adopted in the 2020 rule. The rule allows body sprays to circumvent the intent to promote water conservation based on orientation of the water flow—a side spray rather than overhead.

“As many parts of America experience historic droughts, this commonsense proposal means consumers can purchase showerheads that conserve water and save them money on their utility bills,″ said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Since the 2020 rule was passed, industry groups have appealed the DOE to reverse it, saying that it would waste water, add unnecessary burden on already stressed water utilities, and put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.

“To the extent the consumers want the high-flow showerheads that DOE now permits, manufacturers will face market pressure to make those products,” said ASA Director of Codes and Standards Jim Kendzel. “Manufacturing and distributing new products that take advantage of this rule will impose significant costs on [manufacturers] relative to existing manufacturing and distribution standards, including investments in product development, design, and tooling, among other costs.”

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day public comment period next week.

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