Urinals are most commonly found in commercial and institutional restrooms.
In the 1980s and early 90s, multiple states adopted standards setting maximum water use levels for showerheads, faucets, toilets, and urinals. Based on these standards, Congress adopted national standards on these products in the Energy Policy Act of 1992.
Under the law, if the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) revises these standards, DOE is obligated to review ASME's action and consider revising the federal standards. By 2010, ASME had not revised the standards. DOE officially waived federal preemption of the 1.0 gallon-per-flush (gpf) national standard in December 2010. This waiver of federal preemption allowed states to set standards provided that they are more stringent than the national standard.
The voluntary WaterSense program (similar to ENERGY STAR but focused on helping consumers identify water-efficient products) has set criteria for flushing urinals at no more than 0.5 gallons per flush (gpf). Texas adopted state standards at 0.5 gpf. In April, 2015, California set the following standards for urinals: 0.125 gpf for wall-mounted urinals; a formula for trough-type urinals (trough length in inches/16); and 0.5 gpf for all other urinals. There is no known incremental cost associated with efficient urinals.
The EPA WaterSense website notes that replacing just one older, inefficient urinal that uses 1.5 gpf with a WaterSense labeled model could save a facility more than 4,600 gallons of water per year. Nationwide, if all older, inefficient urinals were replaced, we could save nearly 36 billion gallons annually