EPA program rates homes for water efficiency

With the release of the WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making it easier for builders and home buyers to support water efficiency across the country.

EPA developed this specification over several years, working with hundreds of stakeholders and releasing two drafts for public comment, before finalizing its criteria December 9, 2009. The specification is designed to work with other voluntary green building programs such as the National Green Building Standard, Energy Star, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Builders can now become WaterSense partners and begin constructing homes to earn the WaterSense label.

Designed to use about 20 percent less water than typical new homes, WaterSense labeled new homes will be independently inspected and certified by EPA licensed certification providers. These new homes will feature WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, Energy Star qualified appliances (if installed), water-efficient landscaping, and an efficient hot water delivery system.

Residential water use currently accounts for more than half of the publicly supplied water in the United States; about 1.27 million new homes are built each year. If all new homes built in 2010 were WaterSense labeled, it would save more than 12 billion gallons of water per year, and the homeowners would save more than $130 million in utility bills.

Each WaterSense labeled home will save more than 10,000 gallons of water per year—enough to fill a backyard swimming pool—and save enough energy to power a television for four years. Compared to a typical new home, a WaterSense labeled home can help a family save at least $100 per year in water, sewer, and energy bills; compared to an existing, older home, a family could save more than $200 per year on utilities.

WaterSense is an EPA partnership program that seeks to enhance the market for water-efficient homes, products, and services. WaterSense is both a label for homes and products and a resource to help people use water more efficiently. Learn more about the 2009 WaterSense Single-FamilyNew Home Specification.