The EPA has announced it will make minor modifications to its specification that establishes the criteria for new homes to earn the WaterSense label.

Due in part to the increase in WaterSense-labeled products now available and the widespread adoption of the EPA’s Water Budget Tool for landscape design, the agency has proposed several revisions to its WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification. The proposed changes include:

  • New units in multifamily buildings would now be eligible to earn the WaterSense label. Individual units in new facilities could earn the label, as long as the common areas of these residential buildings also meet EPA’s indoor and outdoor criteria.
  • Landscaping requirements would be simplified to focus solely on regionally appropriate landscapes through the use of EPA’s Water Budget Tool. This change would remove the option to landscape front yards with 40% turfgrass or less and reflects the fact that most builders are using the Water Budget Tool to calculate outdoor landscaping requirements.
  • Additional WaterSense-labeled products would be required. With the addition of new product categories eligible to earn the WaterSense label since the original specification was released, this update will require additional products installed indoors and outdoors to be WaterSense labeled, where available.

As with all WaterSense specifications, EPA officials consulted with builders, manufacturers, utilities, and other stakeholders to develop these revisions. The draft revised specification is available here and the public is invited to comment by May 7.