Under the WELS regulations, tapware and handshowers must have star ratings. These ratings help the consumer to make buying decisions on new products based on their water saving features. The more stars, the more water is saved.
WELS in a Nutshell
Since 1 April 2011, New Zealand has had a Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) to provide information to consumers buying products that use water. The scheme provides for a star rating for most tapware and shower heads. Exempt products are bath fillers and taps to washing machines. Shower mixers are not rated either, because the shower head is rated. The more stars a product has, the more water efficient it is. However, in low pressure situations, you might prefer more flow, in which case you would look for fewer stars.
|0 Stars [Warning]
||(More than 16 litres/minute or failing performance requirements)
||>12 to 16
||(More than 12 l/m, but not more than 16 l/m)
||>9 to 12
||(More than 9 l/m, but not more than 12 l/m)
||>7.5 to 9
||(More than 7.5 l/m, but not more than 9 l/m)
||>6 to 7.5
||(More than 6 l/m, but not more than 7.5 l/m)
||>4.5 to 6
||(More than 4.5 l/m, but not more than 6 l/m)
||4.5 or less
||(4.5 l/m or less)
|NB: For shower heads, the WELS scheme currently allows for up to 3 stars on low pressure and up to 4 stars on mains pressure only.
Generally speaking, the Aquatica star rating on Mains Pressure has been achieved by installing a flow regulator. This could be a pressure compensating aerator (in a spout) or a pressure compensating washer (in the inlet of a tap hose tail, a shower rose or a shower hose). Aquatica has chosen to make most sink mixers 3 star, and most basin mixers 4 star, in the belief that people prefer a higher flow to fill the jug than for washing hands in the bathroom.
NB: If you do not desire water efficiency, you can leave out the regulator installed to comply with WELS. However, you should check the instructions first, because in some cases, flow regulation is not for WELS but has been installed in order to make the product function properly (and prevent back-feeding of cold water into the hot water cylinder).
In most cases, the Aquatica star rating on Low Pressure has been achieved with no restriction, but for tapware, you will find a water director in the spout of the tap in order to maximise flow.
If your product was labeled “Mains Pressure Only” then it is supplied with the appropriate WELS-compliant flow regulation already installed and will have one WELS label on the box.
If your product is suitable for a variety of pressures, then it is ready for equal low pressure, with appropriate additional flow regulation and instructions in a bag, which will enable you to quickly make it suitable for mains (or unequal) pressure. It will have two WELS labels, one for low and one for mains pressure. [A 3-pack might have multiple labels. However, the product label should indicate star ratings for each item in the pack.]
Our star ratings have been confirmed by independent laboratory testing and, in terms of efficiency, Aquatica has printed the worst case scenario for each star rating, (ie. 4 stars allows for a range of 6 to 7.5 litres per minute, so we have printed 7.5 litres per minute.) As well as other tests, a flow test is done on mains pressure at 150, 250 and 350kPa and an average taken. For low pressure, the test is at 35kPa.
For more information go to www.waterefficiency.govt.nz