Buyers of green homes want to avoid wasting water and save money with lower water bills. Water efficiency can also increase energy savings for buyers and renters, as less energy is required for hot water heating compared to typical home design. Research has shown that buyers are willing to spend from 1-4% of a home’s purchase price for third-party green certifications, such as Home Innovation’s NGBS Green, which all include some element of water and other resource efficiency. Most recently, NAHB’s 2021 What Home Buyers Really Want survey says nearly 50% of homebuyers are willing to pay at least an additional $500 for a home that meets an above-code standard for water efficiency.
To help builders meet these growing consumer interests, NGBS Green certification now includes new offerings to help green certified homes stand apart from the competition specifically for their water-conserving features. By pursuing NGBS Green and a water certification concurrently, builders can demonstrate added, marketable value to buyers.
Over the last five years, several water rating programs launched programs that issue a numeric metric for a property’s expected water use, with a goal of helping consumers understand that element of their home’s operation. With the release of the 2020 National Green Building Standard (NGBS), the NGBS Green program joined those ranks. Newly-constructed NGBS Green Certified homes have the option to demonstrate their water efficiency through the Water Rating Index (WRI).
Builders now have the option to “double-down” on their water certifications by seeking the WaterSense label in addition to NGBS Green certification and WRI scores. On February 18, EPA announced Home Innovation Research Labs as a Home Certification Organization (HCO) for the WaterSense Labeled Homes program. With a WaterSense labeled home, homebuyers gain confidence that their homes will be at least 30% more efficient than typical construction.
By seeking the WaterSense label, builders can draw attention to their homes’ water efficiency features by levering one of the most recognizable consumers labels for water efficiency. Many savvy consumers are already familiar with the WaterSense label from EPA’s labeling of home water fixtures, including showerheads, faucets, and toilets, and that awareness is growing. NAHB’s 2021 consumer survey found that the WaterSense label is recognized by approximately 26% of consumers, up from 21% in 2018.
Dual-certification to NGBS Green and WaterSense offers NGBS Green Partners added marketing benefit through a streamlined dual-certification process. WaterSense compliance is tracked in the same scoring tools utilized for NGBS Green certification, and many administrative steps are combined for the two offerings.
New and renovated buildings alike can seek the WaterSense label concurrently with NGBS Green certification under the 2020 NGBS version. Building seeking the WaterSense label must be verified to ensure there are no leaks and have WaterSense labeled toilets, bathroom faucets, and showerheads installed. Two compliance options are available:
Builders that already certify to NGBS Green may find that they are able to comply with the WaterSense criteria with little to no added construction costs, because they have already adopted water-efficient design and products. An additional 30-60 minutes per home may be added to onsite inspections to conduct the leak verification for the WaterSense mandatory checklist. I recommend reviewing the WaterSense compliance documents with your NGBS Green Verifier to identify the additional items, if any, that you will need to address to achieve the WaterSense certification.
To learn more, visit our WaterSense Certification page.***