We take our environmental responsibility seriously. The Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) is designed to provide information, through labelling at the point of sale, to consumers buying products that use water. Both the New Zealand and the Australian WELS labels convey the same water efficiency information. The purpose of the label is to help consumers choose products that use less water but still provide a satisfactory level of quality and performance.
The WELS Scheme applies to showers intended solely for personal bathing as specified in AS/NZS 3662:2005 – Performance of showers for bathing. Showers generate about 25 per cent of water savings under the WELS Scheme because:
- A standard showerhead uses about 15 to 25 litres of water per minute – a three star rated water efficient showerhead uses as little as 6 or 7 litres per minute.
- A standard shower head uses at least 120 litres of water per eight-minute shower whereas a water efficient model uses less than 72 litres or 40 per cent less water.
- Installing a water-efficient showerhead saves about 14,500 litres per household each year.
Under the WELS Scheme a rating is given to a showerhead and any additional component supplied with the head such as pivoting arm, flexible hose or flow controller. However, additional components cannot be rated separately from the head.
The WELS Scheme applies to any tap or tap outlet for use over a basin, ablution trough, kitchen sink or laundry tub as specified in AS/NZS 3718:2005, Water supply-Tap ware. WELS taps save water because:
- Typical taps discharge 15 to 18 litres per minute compared with low-flow and aerating models which use as little as 2 litres per minute depending on the intended application and
- Taps with an aerator or flow restrictor may reduce flow to less than a third of standard taps.
The WELS label displays two key pieces of information:
- A star rating indicating relative water efficiency
- A water consumption or water flow figure.
Each product label displays a star rating out of six. The more stars the more water efficient. At the moment, showers will only have a maximum rating of three stars, while the other product types can achieve up to six stars. This is because New Zealand and Australia do not yet have a laboratory test to ensure that very low-flow shower products will deliver acceptable performance.
All WELS labels have a water consumption or flow figure in
- Litres per minute (for showers and taps)
- Litres per wash (for clothes washing machines and dishwashers)
- Litres per flush (for lavatories and urinals). Labels on lavatories display figures for litres per half flush, full flush, and average flush (the average of four half flushes and one full flush).
WELS does not apply to: Bath mixers, Shower mixers or bath spouts.
More information can be found at http://www.mfe.govt.nz