Urinals are most commonly found in commercial and institutional restrooms.
Congress established national urinal standards as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and they took effect in 1994. Congress instructed DOE to update the standards when the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) amended their standards. In December 2010, with no ASME revisions on the books, DOE officially waived federal preemption of the national 1.0 gallons per flush (gpf) urinal standard. This waiver of federal preemption allows states to set standards provided they are more stringent than the national standard.
EPA's voluntary WaterSense program (which is 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 gpf. In 2015, California set standards at 0.125 gpf for wall-mounted urinals, adopted a formula for trough-type urinals (trough length in inches/16); and set 0.5 gpf for all other urinals. Washington state followed California’s standards in 2019. Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and New York City have adopted standards for wall-mounted urinals at 0.5 gpf. 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. ASAP estimates that 68% of all urinal models on the U.S. market meet WaterSense standards.