® WaterSense® Labeled Homes
Delivering on Efficiency in Santa Fe, New Mexico	-?;|gp
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
established WaterSense to protect the future of
the nation's water supply and to promote water-
efficient products, homes, and programs with a
simple, easy-to-identify label. WaterSense
labeled homes allow families to enjoy the
comforts of home while using less water and
energy and saving money on utility bills.
To earn the WaterSense label, homes must
meet EPA's specification criteria: they must be
at least 30 percent more water-efficient than
typical new home construction, include
WaterSense labeled plumbing products, and be
free of water leaks. WaterSense labeled homes
can also include features such as: hot water
that gets to the tap faster; ENERGY STAR®
certified appliances; efficient irrigation
equipment; and water-smart landscapes that
minimize or eliminate the need for irrigation.
Why Water Efficiency Matters to
Communities and Builders
Santa Fe, New Mexico, receives less than 15
inches of rainfall per year. The city and
surrounding region depend on both surface
water from the Santa Fe River and Colorado
River (via diversion to the Rio Grande) and
groundwater for their water supply. Ongoing
water supply concerns and a growing
population require Santa Fe to consider
aggressive water conservation practices.
Benefits of WaterSense Certification
For Communities/Water Agencies:
•	Preserves the ability to add new housing and
grow communities while limiting impacts on
water and infrastructure resources.
•	Achieves greater water efficiency using a
whole-house, building-science approach and
system solutions that may not be possible
solely with efficient products.
•	Encourages builders to design homes with
water-efficient features in mind, maximizing
water savings at minimal incremental cost.
For Builders:
•	Mitigates the rising cost of water and utility
connection fees.
•	Leverages support from existing
communities and investors.
•	Offers advantages in the permitting and land
entitlement processes.
•	Supports corporate disclosures and
The figure on the next page shows the drought
status in Santa Fe County, New Mexico,
between 2000 and 2023, with yellow denoting
abnormally dry conditions and darker colors
indicating even greater drought intensity. Over the same period, Santa Fe's population increased by
20 percent. Santa Fe and other areas affected by frequent droughts need to plan communities wisely
so as not to overstress water supplies.

WaterSense labeled homes can help preserve the ability to add housing in communities that are
water- or infrastructure-constrained by minimizing the impact of new construction on water
resources. They can also mitigate the impact of rising costs of water and connection fees.
DO (Abnormally Dry) D1 (Moderate Drought) D2 (Severe Drought) U D3 (Extreme Drought)	D4 (Exceptional Drought)
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/)
Why Choose WaterSense Labeled Homes
The WaterSense label for homes provides a whole-house approach to water efficiency. The programs
that certify homes through WaterSense address specific climate and market conditions by
encouraging system and design improvements in addition to efficient products and appliances. This
approach helps maximize savings and reduce costs for the builder, the homeowner, and the
WaterSense labeled homes can achieve significantly more savings than homes with WaterSense
labeled plumbing products alone. Plus, WaterSense labeled homes carry the additional benefit of
being independently certified to ensure they are free of leaks and that products and systems are
properly installed to maximize savings.
Maximizing Water Savings With WaterSense Labeled Homes
The table on the next page illustrates the features that may be included under four scenarios in Santa
Fe. This example uses a typical 2,400-square-foot home with an average-sized household (2.61
occupants) on a 10,000-square-foot lot that includes 5,826 square feet of conventional, irrigated turf
(unless otherwise specified). Assumptions for a typical home are based on national averages.
The baseline home includes products meeting federal efficiency standards and other features
typical of new construction. The home following the Mandatory Checklist for WaterSense
Labeled Homes includes WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads, but no additional
water-efficient features. The home meeting California standards is required to meet more rigorous
product efficiency criteria for certain plumbing and irrigation products. Finally, the example
WaterSense labeled home incorporates a variety of water-efficient indoor and outdoor features that
meet the water efficiency requirement for WaterSense labeled homes and result in substantially
more water savings.
This is just one example of a home that has earned the WaterSense label—other design
configurations could also meet the requirement. The example shows that for a hot and dry climate
such as Santa Fe's, improvements limited to indoor water efficiency will not be sufficient to achieve
the 30 percent threshold. The home will generally need to focus on maximizing outdoor water savings
(e.g., by reducing turf and using non-irrigated or natural areas to reduce irrigable landscape area) to
ensure it is at least 30 percent more water-efficient than typical new construction.
Santa Fe County (NM) Percent Area in U.S. Drought Monitor Categories

IL 1

Baseline Home
Home Meeting
Home Meeting
Example WaterSense
Labeled Home in
Santa Fe**
1.6 gpf
1.28 gpf
1.28 gpf
1.1 gpf
2.5 gpm
2.0 gpm
1.8 gpm
1.8 gpm
Lavatory Faucets
2.2 gpm
1.5 gpm
1.2 gpm
1.2 gpm
Kitchen Faucets
2.2 gpm
2.2 gpm
1.8 gpm
1.5 gpm
5.0 gpc
5.0 gpc
5.0 gpc
3.5 gpc
Clothes Washers
6.5 IWF
6.5 IWF
6.5 IWF
4.3 IWF
Hot Water
More efficient hot water
Landscape and
Turf irrigated
with standard
fixed spray
sprinklers and
Turf irrigated with
standard fixed spray
sprinklers and
Turf irrigated with
labeled spray
sprinkler bodies
and timer-based
15% less irrigable
landscape; 30% of
remaining landscape is
non-turf design with
drip irrigation; turf
irrigated with
WaterSense labeled
spray sprinkler bodies;
WaterSense labeled
irrigation controller
Total Estimated
Annual Water Use
152,000 gallons
139,000 gallons
136,000 gallons
<106,000 gallons
Total Estimated
Annual Water
and Percent
Savings From
0 gallons
0% savings
13,000 gallons
5 to 12% savings
16,000 gallons
7 to 14% savings
>46,000 gallons
>30% savings
Feature meets federal
standard or common
construction practices
Feature meets
WaterSense or
ENERGY STAR criteria
Feature achieves greater efficiency
level than WaterSense product
specification criteria
gpf = gallons per flush; gpm = gallons per minute; gpc = gallons per cycle; IWF = integrated water factor
* For comparison, California product and appliance standards are considered the most efficient state
** For example purposes only. Home could qualify with a different combination of features, and a different home
with these features is not guaranteed to achieve WaterSense certification.
Learn More
Interested in learning more about WaterSense and how it can benefit your community? Visit
A m* EPA-832-F-23-002G
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSITEwww.epa.gov/watersense EMAILwatersense@epa.gov	July 2023