Moen's Envi Eco-Performance Showerhead uses about 30 percent less water than a normal-flow showerhead. Image supplied by Moen.
I went to a press meeting with Moen this week and came away with a ton of green facts about the well-known company who produces bathroom fixtures. Was I taken in by the allure of a shiny presentation? Did the swag make me want to praise the company to anyone who will listen? Nope. I'm tough to please when it comes to eco-issues, and I'm not afraid to out greenwashing. But the science and math geek in me can't deny the company's impressive quantifiable eco-results (i.e. hard figures). So what do those numbers add up to? It's an equation for all-around green goodness.Reduce
As of Jan. 1, 2009, all of Moen's new showerheads are low-flow to reduce water consumption. Moen has pumped huge research and development dollars into reducing flow without sacrificing performance. Their "flow-optimized" showerheads use 30 percent less water than the average showerhead, and they actually exceed LEED requirements (they get two LEED points!). At a flow rate of just 1.6 or 1.75 gallons per minute—compared to the 2.5 gpm LEED standard, and the whopping 6 to 10 gpm of conventional showerheads—Moen's products are super-water-savers.
The tidbit of information I was most floored by was a waste reduction initiative. Moen engineers many lavatory and bath faucets with the same plumbing valves so that every time a home-owner wants or needs to get a new faucet, only the upper parts have to be changed, while the plumbing valves can be reused (they call it the M•PACT system). When you think about it, that alone saves a huge amount of metal. (And we all know how tough metal mining and smelting is on the environment.)
When I think of all the companies that have spectacular recycling policies, Moen wouldn't have come to mind a week ago. But Moen recycles more than 90 percent of all the metals, scrap, returned product and the oils and solvents that are byproducts of the manufacturing process. So what does "more than 90 percent" look like? In 2006, the company reprocessed more than:
-6,804 metric tons of brass—weighing about the same as 4,643 Honda Accord sedans
-590 metric tons of iron, stainless steel and zinc—the equivalent of 402 more cars in weight
So what happens to all this metal? The brass gets sent back to the manufacturer after the chips and oil are separated, and returned faucets go to a metals recycler.
The Moen Verdict
I've always appreciated the clean design of Moen's products, but the fact that they're a truly clean product that minimizes harm on the environment is a big plus in my book. They'll certainly be first on my list when I finally get around to renovating my bathroom.