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WaterSense: Meets EPA Critera WaterSense Seal An EPA Partnership Program

Saving Inside & Out

WaterSense labeled new homes include indoor and outdoor criteria for water efficiency and performance.

Saving Water Indoors

On average, about 70 percent of water used at home is used indoors. The WaterSense specification addresses water efficiency during the planning and design stages of home construction, where significant impacts can be achieved using readily available technologies. WaterSense labeled homes must have:

  • WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures that have been independently certified for efficiency and performance. Required labeled products include:
    • Toilets
    • Bathroom Faucets
    • Showerheads
    • Flushing urinals (if installed)
  • An efficient hot water delivery system that stores no more than .5 gallons of water between the source of hot water (the water heater or a recirculation loop) and the furthest fixture in the home.
    • Recirculation systems must be demand initiated (push button or motion sensor activated)
  • ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer and dishwasher (if included)
  • A maximum service pressure of 60 psi
  • No leaks

Landscape Design

Single-Family Homes

Depending upon where a home is located, the water used to maintain its outdoor landscape can total anywhere from 30 to 70 percent or more of the home's total water use.

Water efficiency begins with designing a water-smart landscape. The front yard of WaterSense labeled homes must be landscaped. The criteria also apply to any other areas improved upon by the builder beyond temporary stabilization (e.g., turf, sod, flower beds, water features).


A WaterSense labeled new home must use the WaterSense Water Budget Tool to design a landscape based on a regionally appropriate amount of water.

Multi-Family Buildings

Maintaining landscapes for multi-family buildings also often results in high outdoor water use. All areas improved upon by the builder, including common-use areas intended for building residents, must meet specified landscape criteria and be designed using the WaterSense Water Budget Tool for any individual unit of a multi–family building to earn the WaterSense label.


If an irrigation system is installed, it must:

  • Be designed or installed and audited by an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program.
  • Use fixed spray irrigation on turfgrass only and achieve at least a 65 percent distribution uniformity.
  • Use drip or micro–irrigation on all plants other than turfgrass
  • Include WaterSense labeled weather–based irrigation controllers or soil moisture–based irrigation controllers meeting specified criteria.

Resident's Manual

Even the best built home will only realize its water savings potential if the resident has the ability to properly maintain it. For this reason, builders must also provide the resident of each home that earns the WaterSense label with a manual that details usage and maintenance of the home's indoor and outdoor water efficient features. For multi-family buildings, builders must also provide manuals to the building management. At a minimum the manual should include:

  • Operations and maintenance manuals for all water-using equipment
  • If an irrigation system is included for single-family homes:
    • A schematic of the irrigation system
    • An itemized list of all components
    • Copies of the programmed irrigation schedules with information on reprogramming
  • General information on water-efficient appliances that are not included in the home as built, but could be added at a later date (such as clothes washers or dishwashers)

To assist builders in the development of the resident's manual, WaterSense has developed customizable tools and templates available to builder partners on the WaterSense Partner Site.

Find more details and additional technical information including the Building Resource Manual on the New Home Specification page.

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