The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed its 40 percent turf limitation in the newly published WaterSense New Home Specification. Released on August 31, the Final Version 1.1 WaterSense New Home Specification, to become effective January 1, 2013, establishes the criteria for new homes labeled under the WaterSense program and is applicable to newly constructed single-family and multi-family homes.


In the early stages, EPA released a New Home Specification draft with restrictions on the amount of turf grass that could be used nationwide on new home sites (40 percent grass use on a site’s landscapeable area), without any allowances for regional differences in climate or turf species.


“OPEI and its partners are pleased that the EPA realized that singling out turfgrass limitation makes no sense when you consider the range of drought resistant turfgrasses available and the vast rainfall variation across the country,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO, OPEI. “Not only did we see this turf limitation withdrawn from the WaterSense specification, but we also kept the turf limitation from expanding to the International Green Construction Code.”


Rather than limit turf, WaterSense now requires builders of WaterSense labeled homes to use EPA’s Water Budget Tool to inform their landscape design. An easy-to-use, interactive version is available on the WaterSense website.