Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final WaterSense® Labeled Homes Program, Version 2, following a pilot period in which more than 275 homes were certified. The WaterSense 2.0 label for homes — a voluntary, above-code certification for water savings and performance — provides builders with third-party validation for their clients and helps consumers save water, energy and money.
Consumer awareness of the WaterSense certification program increased from 21% in 2018 to 26% in 2020 as reported in NAHB’s What Home Buyers Really Want 2019 and 2021 editions, respectively. Consumers are generally willing to pay more for certification that their home meets an above-code standard for water efficiency:
- 49% of those surveyed for the 2021 edition are willing to pay at least $500,
- 39% are willing to pay at least $1,000, and
- 11% are willing to pay $5,000 or more.
Under WaterSense 2.0, EPA requires homes that earn the WaterSense label to use WaterSense labeled plumbing products, demonstrate an absence of leaks and be at least 30% more water efficient than a comparable new home (based on national standards). Outdoor water conservation and hot water distribution thresholds are no longer mandatory but are recognized as best practices that builders may use toward achieving the minimum 30% improvement in whole-house efficiency.
EPA-approved Home Certification Organizations (HCO) administer the program, train verifiers, provide quality assurance and issue certifications. Each HCO certifies to its specific WaterSense Approved Certification Method (WACM). The pilot program was conducted through the first approved HCO, RESNET, using HERSH2O as its WACM.
EPA has approved Home Innovation Research Labs™ as an HCO which will administer the WaterSense 2.0 program through the Water Rating Index (WRI) water-efficiency performance path established in the ICC 700-2020 National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) as part of a whole-home NGBS Green certification.
For more information on EPA’s updated WaterSense labeled homes program, visit the WaterSense website.For information about NAHB's sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Michelle Diller. And to stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.