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Testing requirements

The Regulations require that the information for the WELS labels be determined in accordance with specified subclauses of AS/NZS 6400. These subclauses also list a number of test procedures and performance requirements which are located in the product-specific standards. These standards specify the testing needed to produce the required information.

The product standards include performance tests, so that products tested for water efficiency will also be tested for functionality. This means that labels provide consumers with information about both water efficiency and fitness for purpose.

If a product fails to meet any of the listed performance requirements, it must be given a zero-star rating. It is not necessary to carry out any further tests once it is clear that the product will be zero rated.

The WELS scheme only mandates compliance with those requirements that are specified in the Regulations – full compliance with each of the product-specific standards is not necessary to rate and label a product.

The test procedures for the New Zealand WELS have been aligned with the current Australian WELS. Products that comply with Australian WELS requirements (ie, fully comply with AS/NZS 6400) will comply with the New Zealand WELS requirements.

Locating an accredited laboratory for testing

The New Zealand Regulations do not specify who can carry out testing; however, it is recommended that suppliers use a laboratory that can provide confidence in the results, for example has IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) or equivalent accreditation for the relevant testing. IANZ accreditation or equivalent is required for test reports to be accepted for registration under the Australian scheme.

You can search for accredited laboratories in New Zealand through the IANZ web portal or by asking the IANZ accreditation staff at (09) 525 6655. Accredited laboratories in Australia are listed on the Australian WELS site and the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. 2

Clothes washing machines and dishwashers

All washing machines and dishwashers, intended for household or similar purposes that are sold in New Zealand already need to comply with the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002. WELS testing essentially piggybacks off that for the energy-rating regime.

Two of the performance tests specified in AS/NZS 6400 are optional because they do not affect the water consumption of the appliances. These tests are:

  • for clothes washing machines, the water extraction index test, which assesses the effectiveness of the machine’s spin cycle or equivalent in removing water from the wet clothes
  • for dishwashers, the drying index which assesses the effectiveness of the machine at drying the clean dishes.

The Regulations state that the water consumption must be calculated in accordance with subclauses 2.3.4 (for clothes washing machines) and 2.2.4 (for dishwashers) of AS/NZS 6400. This means that water consumption must be determined when testing the same machine operating programme (and any other relevant conditions) used for the energy consumption and energy rating. The appliances must also meet the performance requirements to receive a rating greater than zero.

Lavatory equipment

The Regulations refer to subclauses 2.4.3 and 2.4.4 of AS/NZS 6400, which specify the performance and water consumption tests that lavatory equipment must undergo.

If the results of the testing show that the lavatory equipment has a water consumption (flush discharge volume for single flush and average flush volume for dual flush) of more than 5.5 litres the product must be zero rated. This means both single flush toilets with a flush volume greater than 5.5 litres and dual flush toilets with an average flush volume greater than 5.5 litres receive a zero rating. Under the Australian WELS these same products cannot be labelled, nor legally sold.

The actual details of the performance requirements, and the testing procedures to determine them, are listed in the product-specific standards. These tests relate to aspects of effective function, such as paper and solids discharge, watertightness, splash, capacity, hydraulic strength and endurance.  

  • Testing procedures for the performance requirements relating to toilet pans are detailed in AS 1172.1 Water closets (WC) Part 1: Pans.
  • Testing procedures for the performance requirements relating to toilet cisterns are detailed in AS 1172.2 Water closet (WC) pans of 6/3 L capacity or proven equivalent – Cistern.
  • Procedures relating to mains pressure flushing valves are in ATS 5200.020 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 020: Flushing valves for water closets and urinals – For use with mains supply.
  • Procedures related to those flushing valves that are not designed for mains pressure supply are in ATS 5200.021 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 021: Flushing valves for water closets and urinals – For use with break tank supply.
  • Solenoid valves used for flushing or water supply into cisterns are covered by ATS 5200.030 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 030: Solenoid valves.

For lavatory equipment the water consumption depends on the type of cistern. For single flush systems the flush volume equals the water consumption because that is the only option. For dual flush systems the water consumption is calculated as the average of one full flush and four reduced flushes. The label provides for all three flush volumes to be provided and this must be done for dual flush models. Single flush models need only provide the full flush volume on the label.

The standards also provide some guidance on which components need to be tested individually or in combination, and nomination of other components that must be installed with them.

Showers

The Regulations refer to subclauses 2.1.3 and 2.1.4 of AS/NZS 6400 which specify the performance and water consumption tests that showers must undergo.

The details of the testing procedures are specified in AS/NZS 3662 Performance of showers for bathing. These tests relate to effectiveness and function (eg, flow rate, spray angle, temperature drop, watertightness and endurance) of the shower.

Showers that are intended for use in mains pressure applications must have the flow rate test done at dynamic pressures of 150 kPa, 250 kPa, 350 kPa, and 500 kPa. The reported water consumption is the mean of the first three of these. Showers that are intended for use either in unequal-pressure plumbing systems (mains pressure cold water, and low pressure hot water) or for all-low pressure systems must have the flow rate test done at a dynamic pressure of 35 kPa.

Some showers can be used in both mains pressure and low pressure applications. For example, showers may be supplied with a flow restrictor that should be installed for mains pressure use and left out for low pressure use. A shower like this can display labels for both pressure applications so long as it has been tested and rated for each application. Advice on use of the flow restrictor, and installation instructions must also be provided when the product is supplied.

A shower head that is supplied as a stand-alone product may be tested and rated on its own, and the flow controller endurance test is not relevant. If a shower head is supplied with a flow controller or any other components that could affect the flow performance, it must be assembled with those components and according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the flow-rate test.

Tap equipment

The requirements for taps are similar to those for showers. The Regulations refer to subclauses 2.6.3 and 2.6.4 of AS/NZS 6400 which specify the performance and water consumption tests taps must undergo.

The details of the testing procedures are set out in AS/NZS 3718 Water supply – Tap ware. These relate to effectiveness and function (eg, hydraulic strength, endurance, watertightness, torque, flow rate).

Taps that are intended for use in mains pressure applications must have the flow-rate test done at dynamic pressures of 150 kPa, 250 kPa, 350 kPa, and 500 kPa. The reported water consumption is the mean of the first three of these. Taps that are intended for use either in unequal-pressure plumbing systems (mains pressure cold water, and low pressure hot water) or for all-low pressure systems must have the flow-rate test done at a dynamic pressure of 35 kPa.

Urinal equipment

The Regulations refer to subclauses 2.5.3 and 2.5.4 of AS/NZS 6400 which specify the performance and water consumption tests that urinal equipment must undergo.

The details of the testing procedures required for urinals (ie, the receptacle part, excluding the flushing control mechanism) are set out in AS/NZS 3982 Urinals. These relate to effectiveness and function (eg, discharge, flushing, splash tests, watertightness, hydraulic strength, or endurance).

The details of the testing procedures for flush mechanisms (flushing valves/cisterns) are set out below.

  • Flushing control mechanism (cistern, flushing valve, or solenoid valve) are in various parts of ATS 5200.
  • Urinal cisterns (ie, the entire flushing mechanism which may include a cistern and flushing valve) are in ATS 5200.004 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products – Urinal flushing cisterns. The rest of these procedures are the same as those listed above for lavatory equipment, as the components covered are the same.
  • Mains pressure flushing valves are in ATS 5200.020 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 020: Flushing valves for water closets and urinals – For use with mains supply.
  • Flushing valves that are not designed for mains pressure supply are in ATS 5200.021 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 021: Flushing valves for water closets and urinals – For use with break tank supply.
  • Solenoid valves used for flushing or water supply are covered by ATS 5200.030 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products, Part 030: Solenoid valves.

As for lavatory equipment, components may be tested individually or in combination, and where there is a need to nominate other components that must be installed with them.


2. On the JAS-ANZ site, search via Accredited Bodies, then Program = ’Product Certification‘, then Scheme = ’Water efficiency products – Rating and labelling (AS/NZS 6400)’.