Back to listings

Flow On Effect

At this time of the year, it seems like we have more than enough water to go around. But water is a finite resource. Every year over summer, we see more reports in the media of droughts around the country.

We can all be more efficient in our water use. When buying appliances, tapware and fixtures for kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, a good place to start is by looking for a WELS rating.

What is WELS (and why should I care?)?

WELS, or the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme is an international programme which has been instigated in New Zealand by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Consumer Affairs. Its primary function is to give you, the end consumer, information about water consumption when purchasing an appliance or plumbing fitting.

WELS also empowers you to make informed decisions to achieve potential water and energy savings. The third benefit of the label, for tapware and showers, is to indicate the pressure suitability of a product.

Where will I find WELS labels?

Tapware, showers, toilets, urinals, dishwashers and washing machines should all have WELS labels. Washing machines and dishwashers will have both energy and water efficiency labels. As with energy efficiency labels, the more stars on a WELS label, the greater the water efficiency of the product.

What to look for

All WELS labels will show whether the product is suitable for mains pressure, low pressure or all pressure systems. Once you have determined which products suit your requirements, look for the best ratings to find the most efficient product in that group. WELS testing provides a “level playing field” – all products are tested the same way.

For example, the Methven Kiri Satinjet Slide Rail Shower is WELS Three Star rated on mains pressure, with an 8 litre per minute flow rate, and WELS Three Star rated on low pressure, with a 9 litre per minute flow rate.

The Fisher & Paykel Aquasmart top-loading washing machine is WELS Four Star rated, using 10.2 litre per kg of wash load (making it nearly as water-efficient as a front loader).

Ideal standard Cygnet toilet suites by Robertson combine next-generation technology with a sophisticated European design in a ‘Think Green’ program. Think green products are designed to achieve safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly water management solutions.

All Cygnet suites carry a 4 star WELS rating and the Watermark seal of quality. Dual Flush technology is an environmental solution utilizing a 4.5 litre full flush and a 3 litre half flush, which is a 30 % saving on traditional toilet suites.

The cost of inaction

No matter where we live in NZ, conserving water makes sense. The less water we use in our homes, the less runs on through the civic waste water system. Less pressure on infrastructure means less cost will be passed on to us through our rates. The less hot water we use, the less money we need to spend using electricity to heat that water. Using water sparingly in our homes is not only kinder on our environment but on our pockets too.

Was this article helpful? Subscribe to receive our FREE monthly eNewsletter, or follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

View more articles

Find out what you can do to be Energy Smart savvy in the articles linked below.


Flow On Effect
Download Energy Smart
FPB - Future Proof Building Principals
Energy Smart Health & Safety Life Cycle Quality Smart & Secure Sound Control Spatial Design Sustainability