Water conservation and efficiency has become increasingly important in recent years due to water scarcity, droughts and water contamination in many areas of the world.
In the United States, California droughts fostered water conservation rules, based in part on irrigation standards developed by the International Code Council. Regulations included using drought-tolerant plants on lawns for new homes with more than 500 square feet of landscaped area, and limiting turf grass to 25 percent of landscaping, down from a third.
The Code Council and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) have partnered on a new water ratings standard, known as HERSH20, that builders can use in the U.S. to evaluate and market a home’s water usage efficiency. Real estate agents are beginning to take notice of the value of such water efficiency ratings, not just in California, but in other areas where potable water may be a concern. HERSH20 guidelines are currently being field tested by various national production builders.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense Program is a major water efficiency initiative based in the U.S. This important initiative was developed to help consumers identify water efficient products that meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. Since its creation in 2006, WaterSense has conserved more than 2.7 trillion gallons of water and saved American families $63.8 billion in water and energy bills, according to the EPA. WaterSense has also helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump and treat water by 367 billion kilowatt hours, which is equivalent to a year’s worth of power for more than 34.1 million U.S. homes. ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), a member of the ICC Family of Companies and an industry leader in technical evaluations of building products, is an EPA licensed certifier. To learn more about ICC-ES WaterSense Programs, click here.
Swimming Pool and Backyard Safety
During warm weather seasons, homeowners and renters should take the time to check their outdoor areas for potential safety hazards. Proper inspections now can help to keep your family and friends safe in the future.
Nationally, drowning is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Practice constant, adult supervision around any body of water, including pools and spas. And, if you're considering a swimming pool purchase, contact your local Building Department first to determine exactly what permits are needed and what requirements you must follow.
The Code Council supports drowning prevention and has a close partnership with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).
Pool Safely is a national public education campaign that works with partners around the country, including the Code Council, to reduce child drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. Take the pledge and get a free pool safety kit.