EPA proposes rules for Energy Star and WaterSense certifications for new homes

Two recent proposed rules issued by two different programs of the U.S. EPA — WaterSense and Energy Star — cover overlapping products and could result in inconsistent requirements for new homes to achieve the two certifications. Energy Star has proposed an update to its existing “Qualified Homes” specifications, slated for implementation in 2011. WaterSense’s May 8 proposed rule provides details for “Water-Efficient Single-Family New Home Specification.” The proposed standards sometimes overlap and provide inconsistent requirements. For example, both programs contain rules for showerheads and water heaters, which are different in their approaches. Congress previously specifically authorized the Energy Star program, for which EPA and the Department of Energy share responsibility. EPA’s WaterSense program does not yet have Congressional authorization. However, both the Waxman-Markey climate bill, which recently passed the House, and S. 1005, recently approved by the Senate Environment Committee, include specific authorization for the WaterSense program.

If you would like to see the proposed rules, or otherwise have questions, contact Steve O’Day or another member of the SGR Sustainability Practice Group.

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