Water & Waste Services sector case study

Some standards are clearer than others when it comes to their benefit to the community, with some taking a little bit of digging to understand the true depth of their impact. But, in some cases the name of the standard makes it obvious who benefits and what the advantages are, and AS/NZS 6400:2016, Water efficient products – Rating and labelling, is no exception.

At a time when household budgets are stretched to their limits and consumers have a plethora of information available to them when making buying decisions, the products used daily for basic cleanliness are now more accountable for the water they use. That is, 

consumers can now make their buying decisions based on the water efficiency of shower heads, toilet systems, or kitchen and bathroom taps. 

Backing the law

Working with the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (Cth) (the WELS Act), this standard seeks to provide the guidance manufacturers and suppliers need whilst creating a level playing field in rating and labelling water efficient products. It is this standard which aims to provide the guidance for suppliers on how to rate and label their products correctly in terms of water use. 

More specifically, this standard can be applied to showers, tap equipment, flow controllers, lavatory equipment, urinal equipment, dishwashers, clothes washing machines, and the dryer of combination washer/dryers where water is used to dry a load. 

The technical requirements for manufacturers and suppliers to comply with in this standard are quickly brought back to reality for the average Australian with the iconic star rating system. 

When shopping for a new washing machine, dishwasher or a tap for the bathroom renovation many consumers will be well aware that the more stars a product has the more efficient it has been rated. 

Benefits beyond the stars

But this standard not only aims to give consumers the ability to make a more informed decision, the broader Australian community benefits with this standard also playing a role in reducing inefficient products on the market. 

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 

by 2021 it is estimated the use of water efficient products will help reduce domestic water use by nearly 150,000 megalitres each year – enough water to fill 60,000 Olympic swimming pools. 

With so much to be saved, the guidance to manufacturers is a clear positive flowing onto the broader community.

Consumers continue to reap the benefits when we look at how environmental considerations are becoming a growing factor in buying decisions, particularly when it comes to utilities and energy consuming products. With this type of movement in the marketplace, this standard is uniquely placed as it guides consumers in making a more informed decision about a product that is efficient, allowing for less impact on the environment and a smaller utility bill. 

AS/NZS 6400 is an excellent example of standards being the intersection of positive economic and social impact, and given the revision which took place to deliver this latest edition consumers can expect an innovative future as market and societal requirements continue to develop around energy efficiency.

This case study is available in PDF format.