On Friday, July 16, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice proposing to revise the current definition of “showerhead” adopted on Dec. 16, 2020, by reinstating the prior definition of “showerhead.”

This reinstatement of the prior definition is consistent with the purposes of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). Further, DOE has tentatively determined that, in reinstating the prior definition of “showerhead,” all showerheads within a product containing multiple showerheads will be considered part of a single showerhead for determining compliance with the 2.5-gpm standard.

Finally, DOE does not propose any changes to the definition of “safety shower showerhead” adopted in the December 2020 Final Rule. DOE invites comment on all aspects of this proposal, including data and information to assist in evaluating whether the definition of “showerhead” from the October 2013 Final Rule should be reinstated, and announces a webinar to collect comments and data on its proposal.

ASA initially opposed the proposed rule adopted on Dec. 16, 2020, which was documented in a letter to the DOE on Oct. 12, 2020. The DOE moved forward with the Dec. 16, 2020 rule adoption despite ASA and industry opposition. Following the final rule publication on Dec. 16, 2020, ASA joined the Alliance for Water Efficiency in its appeal to the DOE related to allowable flow-rate changes for multi-head showers, and the subsequent negative affects it will have on business operations for ASA members, as well as overall negative water-efficiency consequences that will result.

The July 16, 2021 announcement by DOE is a win for ASA and the plumbing industry and, to a significant level, a result of the proactive advocacy ASA took on this issue. The proposed reversal of the Dec. 16, 2020 rule is fully aligned with the ASA position.