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.
The 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. Texas, Vermont, Colorado, New York City, and New York state have adopted standards at 0.5 gpf. In 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. Washington state followed California’s standards in 2019. 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 73% of all urinal models on the US market meet WaterSense standards.