RESNET to develop National
Residential Water Efficiency Rating System.
RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network, in partnership with the Natural
Resources Defense Council and a coalition of water efficiency experts,
homebuilders, environmental organizations and home energy professionals is
developing the nation’s first Water Efficiency Rating (WER) Index.
The WER Index will show consumers at a glance how efficiently a home uses water
by assigning it a numerical score based on performance. RESNET proposes to have
the WER Index ready for use across the United States by the end of 2015.
RESNET is well known for its Home Energy Rating System, the HERS Index.
An ANSI consensus standard development process will be used in developing the
standards for the new residential water efficiency rating system. The RESNET
Standard Development Committee 300 (SDC 300) will oversee development of the
“In many parts of the nation, water is fast becoming an ever increasingly
expensive commodity,” said Steve Baden, executive director of RESNET. “At least
one county in every state in this country experiences a drought each year. There
is clearly a need for a system to rate a home’s efficiency in water use. The WER
Index Score will allow homebuyers to know how efficiently water is being used in
the homes they are considering to buy. It will also provide an opportunity for
homebuilders to monetize the efficiency of their homes in the same fashion that
the HERS Index plays for energy efficiency.”
The WER Index will work in the same way as the HERS Index developed by RESNET,
which scores a home based on its energy performance. A lower HERS Index Score
indicates a more energy efficient home, with 100 being set as the baseline for
an energy efficient home (one that conforms to the latest International Energy
Conservation Code requirements). The baseline score for the WER Index will also
be 100, but with a lower score indicating a more water efficient home.
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RESNET’s effort is being
led by a committee composed of experts in the field of water
efficiency, home building and home energy performance. The
co-chairmen of the committee are Jacob Atalla, KB Home, Ed
Osann, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Jonah Schein,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense Program.
“A residential water efficiency index creates many important
benefits for homeowners and consumers,” said Ed Osann, a
senior water policy analyst for the NRDC. “A numeric water
score will help homebuyers understand the water efficiency
of a house the same way car shoppers use fuel economy labels
to inform their purchases. The score will help expand green
building programs and encourage new rebates and tax
incentives for water efficient products in new and existing
homes. Consumers who ‘know the score’ will save water and
money when they buy a house or renovate their existing
The combination of a WER Index Score and a HERS Index Score
will provide consumers with a comprehensive picture of how
efficiently a home operates.
“RESNET has been a valued partner in helping us to carry out
the WaterSense Labeled Homes program,” said Veronica Blette,
WaterSense Program Manager. “We look forward to working with
them and the water community towards developing this new
tool that will help builders and consumers understand the
savings made possible from homes and products that are
designed for water efficiency.”
Homebuilders who present the two scores side-by-side will be
able to explain to homebuyers in an easy-to-understand
manner, why their homes are better value for money.
According to KB Home’s Jacob Atalla, “Water is one of our
most precious and scarce natural resources, and KB Home has
a proud history of leading our industry in the important
area of water conservation. Just as RESNET’s HERS index
helped revolutionize the way homebuilders are able to
illustrate and track the superior energy efficiency of new
homes, we expect RESNET’s new WER index will further the
industry’s ability to monitor progress in building
water-efficient new homes and provide invaluable insight to
consumers about the benefits they offer.”
KB Home has been named an Energy Star Partner of the Year
Sustained Excellence Award winner for four straight years
and a WaterSense Partner of the Year for four consecutive
The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) is the
independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners
trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize
substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET’s
industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S.
Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, among others.
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