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This post is part of our series on home certifications. You can find our previous posts in this series by searching “Home Certification 101” on our blog. Keep up with updates on home certification and expert home performance advice by signing up below for our newsletter.

Today, we continue our exploration of Home Certification 101 by talking about WaterSense® certification and the label applied to water-efficient homes and products. We’ll also share exciting news about Pearl Certification’s new connection with water efficiency — make sure you read to the end!

A Recap on Certifications

Certification is a process to recognize that a home or product meets specific criteria for performance. It demonstrates that an independent third party has formally compared the home or product to standards developed by experts in the field.

Some certifications focus exclusively on a single performance attribute — ENERGY STAR®, for example, focuses solely on the energy efficiency of products and homes. WaterSense, as the name implies, focuses on water efficiency. Other certifications, like Pearl, set criteria for multiple home performance attributes.

Related Post: Home Certification 101: What's Home Certification?

WaterSense: Standard for Efficiency and Performance

Promolabel blue look

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched WaterSense in 2006 “to make it simple to find water-efficient products, new homes, and programs that meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance.”

Products that earn the WaterSense label — including faucets, showerheads, toilets, and irrigation equipment — use at least 20% less water than standard models.

This doesn’t mean you’ll struggle to get the shampoo out of your hair or the soap off your hands. Today’s WaterSense-labeled products are designed to be as satisfying as they are efficient. To find these products, just look for the blue WaterSense label on the packaging. You can also find a curated list of WaterSense-labeled products in the Green Door app through our integration with Build with Ferguson and find rebates for them using the Rebates Finder in the app.

Related Post: 5 Upgrades that Will Improve Your Bathroom’s Efficiency and Sustainability

How Homes Earn the WaterSense Certification Label

Efficiency is even greater for WaterSense-labeled homes: To earn the label, homes must use 30% less water than typical new construction.

WaterSense builder partners leverage building science to build homes that are so water efficient. The WaterSense Introductory Guide cites multiple home features that contribute to water efficiency, including plumbing features, clothes washers, dishwashers, landscaping, and irrigation.

Specially trained professionals conduct independent on-site verifications to determine a home’s overall water efficiency and confirm that it contains all WaterSense-labeled toilets, bathroom sink faucets, and showerheads. The verifiers also use visual assessments, pressure-loss tests, and dye tablet tests to ensure that the home is free of leaks from fixtures, appliances, and piping. The verifier passes on the information to their EPA-approved Home Certification Organization, which confirms whether a home meets criteria and, if so, issues the WaterSense label.

Savings in Water, Costs, and Energy

But what do the savings actually look like? The WaterSense website provides some compelling facts and figures:

  • Each day, each person in the U.S. uses, on average, about 80 gallons of water in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and lawn.

  • For the average family, that adds up to more than $1,000 in water costs each year (plus, they pay for energy to heat that water).

  • Retrofitting the average home with WaterSense labeled fixtures and ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, however, saves about $380 minimum each year.

A WaterSense-labeled home takes the savings further. WaterSense estimates that a labeled home, on average, saves its owners 50,000 gallons of water and $700 in water and electricity costs per year compared to similar, non-certified new homes.

Have you ever considered how using water more efficiently helps you use energy more efficiently, too? Your water heater is likely the second-largest energy user in your home, after your heating, cooling, and ventilation system. An ENERGY STAR-certified water heater helps you save significant amounts of energy, of course. WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures add more savings. When you use less water at a time, less water needs to be heated.

Related Post: Water Heaters: Do You Know Your Options?

A Sneak Peek at Pearl Certification’s Expansion into Water Certification

WaterSense home certification provides value for homeowners by itself or it can complement other home certifications, such as ENERGY STAR.

Pearl Certification’s Residential Program Specialist Corey Bressler has exciting news on this front. “Pearl is diving into the water certification realm!” he says. “We’re in the process of developing a kitchen and bath appliance certification, and we’re looking at WaterSense as an important part of that.”

The new certification highlights an important distinction of the term efficiency. “Many people pigeonhole ‘efficiency’ into energy. They think, ‘Can I afford my energy bills?’” Bressler says. “But there’s another piece to that: the home’s water efficiency and costs. By getting into water efficiency certification, we’ll be able to help homeowners, real estate agents, appraisers, and potential buyers see and understand more pieces of the home puzzle.”

And that means helping homeowners get the greatest value from their high-performing, water-efficient home features.

Ready to Start Adding Value? 

Whether or not your home has a WaterSense label, you can start your journey to greater water and energy efficiency — pluscomfort, indoor air quality, and home value. The first step is to learn more about the Pearl Certification system, then sign up for our free Green Door app to accelerate your journey. There, you can learn about meaningful improvements to your home, connect with qualified builders, and stay up to date on Pearl’s coming kitchen and bath certification.

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Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.