District News Articles

  2. The US Environmental Protection Agency has released the draft specification for the water efficient new homes program. The draft specification incorporates EPA's criteria for product categories earning the WaterSense label (toilets and faucets) and requires many other practices and technologies aimed at bringing water efficiency into the entire home.

    In addition to WaterSense labeled toilets and faucets, as well as other water-efficient plumbing devices, WaterSense labeled new homes will feature ENERGY STAR® qualified dishwashers and washing machines. They also will feature a hot water distribution system that decreases how long hot water takes to get to the tap.

    The movement to make new homes water-efficient couldn't be happening at a better time. Residential water use accounts for more than half of publicly supplied water in the United States--more than is supplied to both business and commercial industries combined. When final, this new specification will provide a starting point for homeowners to be water efficient right out of the gate. On average, and depending on homeowners' water habits, a WaterSense labeled new home will be designed to use about 20 percent less water per year than other new homes built today.

    WaterSense labeled homes must meet criteria in three areas: indoor water use, outdoor water use and homeowner education. Indoor plumbing, plumbing fixtures, appliances, and other water-using equipment have to be water efficient. Outdoors the landscape design and any irrigation system have to be water efficient. Additionally, homeowners will be provided information on how to maintain a water efficient home. Third-party inspectors will certify that homes meet all of the criteria before they will be given a WaterSense label.

    "The WaterSense New Homes specification is family friendly and climate-ready," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "Homeowners will save water, money, and energy and communities will have an important new tool for sustainable growth and water efficiency."

    These new specifications can have a significant impact not only on water efficiency but on energy efficiency as well. EPA expects to finalize its new homes specification at the end of 2008. EPA is inviting all interested parties to provide comments until July 21, 2008. If you have questions about the draft specification for water-efficient single-family new homes, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or visit the WaterSense New Homes web site at:

    For general information on the EPA’s WaterSense program please visit the WaterSense web site at: