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The WaterSense Blueprint

The WaterSense Blueprint: Issue XI, Fall 2016

The WaterSense® Blueprint is a quarterly update dedicated to news and events related to WaterSense labeled homes. Sign up to receive The WaterSense Blueprint and get WaterSense news delivered right to your inbox. You can also help spread the word by distributing the Blueprint (4 pg, 1MB, About PDF) to builders and developers looking to incorporate water efficiency into their projects. If you missed any of our previous issues, you can find them in our Blueprint Archives.

In This Issue:

Already Building Green? The WaterSense Label Complements Other Home Certifications

Summer 2015 Infographic

Homes in the Holly Creek Townhomes community
in Ithaca, New York, optimize water and energy
efficiency, earning both the WaterSense label
and ENERGY STAR® certification.

Green homes appeal to buyers looking to increase efficiency, save money, and reduce impacts on human health and the environment. According to a McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report, a majority of home builders—nearly 75 percent—report that customers are willing to pay more for a green home; nearly 50 percent of single-family builders and 60 percent of multi-family builders find marketing green homes easier than marketing traditional homes.

Certification Synergies

Green building programs allow home buyers to identify desirable features, including criteria from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s LEED® for Homes Exit EPA Disclaimer and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) International Code Council (ICC) 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS™). Exit EPA Disclaimer The WaterSense New Home Specification complements the water efficiency criteria of LEED, NGBS, and other green building programs. As a result, builders constructing homes to the LEED for Homes rating system or NGBS Green Home certification criteria might already be meeting many elements of the WaterSense specification, making the WaterSense label only a few additional steps away.

The certification systems for all three programs address water and energy use through both indoor and outdoor water efficiency criteria. That means a home built to the WaterSense specification could earn points Exit EPA Disclaimer under LEED for Homes in the Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, and Sustainable Sites categories.

WaterSense Helps Earn Points

Both LEED for Homes and the NGBS rating system award points for the following WaterSense labeled home criteria:


  • WaterSense labeled toilets, bathroom sink faucets, and showerheads
  • ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers and clothes washers
  • Efficient hot water delivery


  • Water-saving landscaping verified through the WaterSense Water Budget Tool
  • WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers*
  • Irrigation systems designed or installed by an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program*

    * if irrigation included

WaterSense labeled homes demonstrate water efficiency and performance through these verified criteria, which are optional with LEED and NGBS. Only homes that have earned the WaterSense label, however, are certified to meet EPA’s criteria, which result in faster hot water delivery; a low-maintenance, water-saving landscape; and high-performing plumbing fixtures and appliances that save water and energy.

More Information About LEED for Homes and NGBS

LEED for Homes Exit EPA Disclaimer is available for building design and construction projects for single-family homes and multi-family projects up to eight stories. LEED certified homes are built to be healthy. They provide clean indoor air, incorporate safe building materials to ensure a comfortable home, and use less energy and water.

NGBS Exit EPA Disclaimer was developed through industry consensus to address home performance in six areas and received approval from the American National Standards Institute. NGBS has been widely implemented throughout the industry, and dozens of regional and local green initiatives refer to the standard within their program criteria.

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Update: zHome Delivers

What is zHome?

Builder partner Ichijo USA earned the WaterSense
label for every home within its zHome community
in Issaquah, Washington, in January 2012—
a WaterSense first. Its zHome was also the first
net-zero-energy townhome community in the
United States and received the Forest Stewardship
Council's 2011 award for the best residential project
in North America. In addition to their energy
efficiency, zHomes include WaterSense labeled
products, efficient hot water delivery, and
water-efficient landscape design required by the
WaterSense specification, as well as a rainwater
catchment system and other water-saving features.
The rainwater is used to flush toilets and wash
laundry, and utility-supplied water meets the
remaining homeowner water needs.

Summer 2015 Infographic

A WaterSense labeled zHome community in
Issaquah, Washington, built by Ichijo USA.
Photo courtesy of EV Studio Planning, LLC.

Since the Blueprint featured zHome in 2014, Built Green, Exit EPA Disclaimer a program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish (Washington) Counties, released a white paper Exit EPA Disclaimer on the WaterSense labeled project describing the first years of water and energy use among zHome residents in Issaquah, Washington. According to utility water data from November 2012 to May 2015, average per person potable water consumption was 16.07 gallons per day (gpd). The estimated rainwater use at zHome units was 11.46 gpd per person, leading to a total per capita per day water consumption of 27.53 gallons—well below the average consumption of 47.90 gpd in Issaquah. WaterSense congratulates Ichijo USA and its zHome partners on this water reduction achievement!

Built Green’s white paper also includes results from a homeowner product performance survey, which asked residents if they felt their plumbing fixtures and appliances were working well. As WaterSense labeled homes, zHomes include WaterSense labeled toilets, bathroom sink faucets, and showerheads, as well as ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers and dishwashers. The 87 percent favorable response rating across these fixtures and appliances demonstrates the homes’ performance as occupants achieve these efficiency gains. The WaterSense labeled showerheads and ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers had the highest level of satisfaction.

zHome Product Performance

Homeowner satisfaction survey results for zHomes. Courtesy of Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, zHome: Setting a National Net Zero Energy and Green Building Precedent, Exit EPA Disclaimer 2015.

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WaterSense 2015 Accomplishments Keep Saving

When In Drought (or not), pick the right plants. Lots of varieties need less water.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense and its partners have helped consumers save a cumulative 1.5 trillion gallons of water and more than $32.6 billion in water and energy bills through WaterSense labeled products! Check out our 2015 Accomplishments Report to learn more.

WaterSense labeled homes also keep adding to the savings. The number of homes that earned the WaterSense label in 2015 nearly doubled compared to 2014. WaterSense labeled homes are independently certified to be high-performing and save at least 20 percent more water than a typical new home—that’s 50,000 gallons of water and up to $600 on utility bills saved each year for a family of four. Builders can learn more about earning the label with the WaterSense Labeled Homes Quick Reference Guide.

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In the News

Read highlights about WaterSense and its partners, as well as news about trends and issues affecting the green building industry.

WaterSense News

Trends and Issues Affecting Green Building

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Calendar of Events

September 27-29, 2016: EEBA Excellence in Building Conference & Expo
This year's Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Excellence in Building Conference & Expo will take place in Frisco, Texas. The event is an opportunity to learn about the latest in responsible and sustainable building design technology, and WaterSense will speak during a session on the third day. Visit the EEBA website Exit EPA Disclaimer to register and learn more.

October 2016: Shower Better Month
October is Energy Action Month—you can promote simple ways to reduce the amount of energy we consume in our everyday lives throughout October with help from WaterSense’s Shower Better campaign. Encourage homeowners to take one simple action: replace an old showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model. Consumers can shower better with WaterSense labeled showerheads’ water, energy, and cost savings while still enjoying a satisfying spray. Visit the WaterSense website to learn more.

October 5-7, 2016: WSI Conference
Don’t forget to finalize your plans for the WaterSmart Innovations (WSI) Conference and Exposition. Exit EPA Disclaimer Now in its ninth year, the conference will continue its tradition of hosting the WaterSense Partner of the Year Awards luncheon at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit WaterSense at Booth #113.

October 28, 2016: Q3 2016 WaterSense Quarterly Reporting Deadline
Make sure your licensed certification providers report to WaterSense any of your homes that earned the WaterSense label during the third quarter (Q3) of 2016. The Q3 2016 reporting deadline is Friday, October 28, 2016.

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