WaterSense" Labeled Homes	

A Tool for Water and Land Use Planning

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established WaterSense to promote water-efficient products,
homes, and programs with a simple, easy-to-identify label. EPA's WaterSense labeled homes program helps make
the most of limited community water supplies while also driving the market for water-efficient home building and
providing utility savings for homeowners. Working with regional and national Home Certification Organizations,
WaterSense certifies homes for water efficiency and performance. Based on the water savings WaterSense
labeled homes offer, regions can leverage the program to support and help maximize new housing in response to
population growth while minimizing stress to limited water resources.

WaterSense Labeled Homes as a Strategy for Water and Land Use Planning

In regions where drought and water supply are an ongoing concern, WaterSense labeled homes can serve as a
strategic tool for land use planners, water district managers, and others seeking to protect existing water
resources without limiting growth. Building WaterSense labeled homes—which use at least 30 percent less water
than typical new construction—maximizes water efficiency at the lowest-cost intervention point (i.e., when the
home is being designed and built) and reduces the impact on existing water resources. Water availability is
essentialto existing and new communities and directly impacts the total number of households that a fixed
amount of water can support. Coordination between local and regional planning officials and water districts helps
ensure local water supply can meet the needs of additional homes without incurring the high cost of acquiring new
water resources.

Just one WaterSense labeled home saves a significant amount of water, but when considering a development or
community of WaterSense labeled homes, the savings and potential impact on housing density are even more
substantial. For example, EPA's pilot in the Las Vegas area (see next page) illustrated the potential increase in the
number of houses one acre-foot (approximately 326,000 gallons) of water can support, provided they are
WaterSense labeled. For older, typical homes built in the region during the early 2000s, one acre-foot of water is
needed per year for every 2.5 homes. By contrast, the pilot found that one-acre foot of water can supply more
than six WaterSense labeled homes for a year in that region. The chart below illustrates how communities with
limited water resources may be able to build more homes if they adopt WaterSense labeled homes.

} One Foot


1 acre foot of water =
325,851 gallons	


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Las Vegas Homes

(Built 2000-2003)

Las Vegas Homes

(Built 2008-2009)

WaterSense Labeled Homes

(Built 2020-2021)

The figure above left compares the size of a football field to that of an acre-foot of water. The figure above right shows the
number of homes that can be supplied by one acre-foot of water in the greater Las Vegas area.


Realized Water Savings

EPA released Version 2 of its WaterSense labeled homes program in
2021. Prior to its release, EPA piloted the program in Las Vegas in 2020.
The pilot study—published inth e Journal of the American Waterworks
Association (AWWA)—compares the observed water use of homes
against modeled predictions and independent field data and highlights
areas for future research.1 WaterSense labeled homes had an average
water use of 53 kilogallons (kgal) per year and reduced water use by
more than 30 percent, which is the program's minimum efficiency level
for WaterSense labeled homes. Results from the pilot show that while
marketand industry factors external to the program are also influencing
water use and could be responsible for some of the reductions, the
savings attributable to WaterSense labeled homes was significant.

EPA compared the water use results from the pilot study against several
other studies and data sources related to household water consumption.
The data shown in the table below reinforce that WaterSense labeled
homes are using significantly less water and performing well relative to
other homes in the country and the region.

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Assessing Water Use
in WaterSense-Labeled
Homes and Quantifying
the Savings

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Observed Water Consumption From Residential Field Studies



Study Period and Home Type

Average Water Use

Residential End Uses
of Water, Version 2

Henderson, Nevada

Existing homes monitored from 2010
to 2013


Southern Nevada
Water Authority

Greater Las Vegas

New homes built 2000 to 2003



Greater Las Vegas

New homes built 2008 to 2009


WaterSense Labeled
Homes Pilot Study

Greater Las Vegas

New WaterSense labeled homes built
2020 to 2021


Learn More

interested in learning more about WaterSense and how it can benefit your community? Visit


1 Schein, Jonah, et al. "Assessing Water Use in WaterSense-Labeled Homes and Quantifying the Savings." Journal AWWA.
May 2022. Pages 10-21. www.epa.gov/system/fil.es/documents/2022-08/ws-.Journal-AWWA-2022-Assessing-WaterUse-

PHONE (866) WTR-SENS(987-7367) WEBSITE www.epa.gov/watersenseEMAILwatersense@epa.gov SERA

November 2023