WaterSense

Certification Systems

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Product Certification System

EPA requires all products bearing the WaterSense label to be independently certified. The WaterSense Product Certification System outlines the process and procedures for the product certification to ensure that all WaterSense labeled products meet EPA's criteria for efficiency and performance.

WaterSense Product Certification System Version 2.1

As part of the ongoing effort to continually improve the WaterSense program and its independent third-party certification process, EPA released Version 2.1 of the WaterSense Product Certification System in January 2016. EPA has made minor revisions to the product certification system to clarify and ensure equitable interpretation and enforcement of program requirements.

Use the links below to learn more about the WaterSense Product Certification System, Version 2.1 including a summary of the revisions.

For background information on the development of and revisions to the WaterSense Product Certification System, please refer to the Product Certification System Archives.

Manufacturer Responsibilities

Manufacturers must obtain all WaterSense-related product certifications (the WaterSense label) from an EPA licensed certifying body that is accredited to provide certification services for WaterSense. EPA maintains a comprehensive list of certifying bodies that are licensed under the product certification system.

Certifying Body Responsibilities

Certifying bodies must be accredited to certify products for WaterSense in accordance with the requirements of the WaterSense Product Certification System, Version 2.1 (PDF) (27 pp, 543 K, About PDF) and the relevant WaterSense product specification. To begin the accreditation process, contact an EPA-approved accreditation body.

Upon accreditation, please contact the WaterSense Helpline for application procedures and to obtain a copy of the licensing agreement.

Licensed certifying bodies are required to submit WaterSense labeled product information directly to EPA using WaterSense product notification templates. Please report all certified products to EPA using the product notification templates below:

Please note that WaterSense ID numbers are required to complete these templates. If a certifying body wishes to provide product information to EPA using its own form, the information must conform to the requirements outlined in the relevant template above.

Accreditation Body Responsibilities

The application process is open to all U.S. domiciled accreditation bodies interested in providing accreditation services for WaterSense.  Any accreditation bodies meeting the application and approval criteria outlined in the Product Certification System, Version 2.1 (PDF) (27 pp, 543 K, About PDF) may apply at any time. To apply, please submit an application letter to the WaterSense Helpline, as described in the product certification system.

Private Labeling Procedures

WaterSense has established simple procedures for private labeling, the practice of acquiring previously certified products with the intent of rebranding and selling them. These procedures do not require product recertification or independent listing with a licensed certifying body.

View previous versions of the WaterSense Product Certification System on the Certification System Background Page.

WaterSense Labeled Homes

The WaterSense Labeled New Home Certification System outlines the process and procedures for the inspection and certification of WaterSense labeled new homes. Builders interested in building new homes to the WaterSense specification and obtaining the WaterSense label must first confirm their eligibility and become partners. Licensed certification providers interested in certifying new homes for the WaterSense program must also become WaterSense partners.

Inspecting New Homes Built to the Specification (Version 1.2 Effective July 24, 2014)

In order to earn the WaterSense label, all new homes must be inspected to ensure they meet EPA's criteria. The following documents provide detailed information on how the homes are tested and what information the builder is required to supply to the inspector.

Certifying New Homes to the WaterSense Specification

For a new home to earn the WaterSense label, it must be inspected by a trained and approved water efficiency inspector and certified by an EPA licensed certification provider. Licensed certification providers are trained, evaluated, approved, and overseen by the EPA-approved program administrator to ensure they have the capability and competence to issue the label for WaterSense labeled new homes. Licensed certification providers and inspectors must be trained on the most current version of the WaterSense New Home Specification in order to continue to offer certification and inspection services for WaterSense.

WaterSense has established the following system for certification and labeling of new homes that meet the Version 1.2 of the WaterSense New Home Specification. Note that EPA released Version 1.2 of the WaterSense New Home Certification System to correspond with revisions made to the WaterSense New Home Specification.

Background Information

To find out more about the development of the WaterSense labeled new home inspection and certification system, including the proposed drafts, public comments on the draft requirements, and EPA's response to the public comments, please visit the New Homes Background Information page.

Professional Certification Programs

The WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System specifies the organizational requirements a professional certifying organization must meet in order to have professional certification program labeled under the one of the WaterSense professional specifications. EPA approved professional certifying organizations must also become WaterSense partners upon successful labeling of their first certification program.

EPA sets standard guidelines for any professional certifying organization (PCO) wishing to obtain the WaterSense label for a certification program. The WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System outlines the application process and requirements for program certification to ensure a base level of organizational competency among PCOs.

WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System Version 1.0

On July 24, 2014, EPA released the WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System (program labeling system).

For background information on the development of the program labeling system, please refer to the WaterSense Professional Certification Labeling System Archives.

The program labeling system defines the organizational requirements that PCOs must meet to earn the WaterSense label for their certification program(s). EPA labels irrigation certification programs based on the criteria outlined in the final specifications. The system distinguishes between two types of PCOs:

  • EPA Approved PCOs: Apply directly to EPA for organizational approval and the WaterSense label for their professional certification program.
  • Adopting PCOs: Apply to an EPA Approved PCO for approval to use that PCOs WaterSense labeled professional certification program.

EPA Approved PCO

PCOs seeking EPA approval must complete the following steps as described in the program labeling system:

  1. Submit an Application for PCO Approval (4 pp, 487 K, About PDF) to EPA:
    1. For organizational approval through WaterSense Accreditation, the PCO provides supporting documentation to EPA that demonstrates that the PCO meets eligibility requirements for institutional stability, subcontracting, independent oversight, management of certified professionals' eligibility requirements, and certification exams.
    2. For organizational approval through Third-Party Accreditation, the PCO follows a streamlined approach and provides EPA with a certificate of accreditation to a national standard.
  2. Submit an Application to Label a Professional Certification Program (3 pp, 412 K, About PDF) along with all documentation pertaining to the relevant WaterSense Irrigation Certification Program Specification.
  3. Complete and submit a PCO Partnership Agreement.

PCOs may submit application pieces separately in the order above or as one package, however, EPA will not sign a WaterSense partnership agreement until a certification program has been approved to bear the label.

Interested in applying?

Submit a notification of interest form to tell EPA that your organization intends to apply for the WaterSense label. WaterSense will contact you to learn more about your program and assist you with the application process.

Adopting PCO

PCOs seeking approval to use an existing WaterSense labeled certification program must apply to both the Parent PCO and EPA for approval and complete the following steps as described in the program labeling system(16 pp, 397 K, About PDF):

  1. Contact the Parent PCO to obtain, complete, and submit an application.
    1. The Parent PCO reviews the application and notifies the Adopting PCO when all requirements have been met.
  2. Complete and submit to EPA an Application for PCO Approval (4 pp, 487 K, About PDF).
  3. Complete and submit to EPA a PCO Partnership Agreement.

Interested in adopting a labeled program?

Learn more about the WaterSense labeled programs currently being offered.

WaterSense Professional Certification Labeling System Archives

On September 19, 2013, EPA released the Draft WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System, three draft revised specifications (version 1.1) for professional certification programs, and applications for professional certification programs to apply for the WaterSense label.

Draft Labeling System, Draft Specifications, and Supporting Documentation

The cover letter, draft labeling system, draft specifications, and applications (PDF)(46 pp, 1.1 MB, About PDF) are contained in one PDF. Each component document is listed below. Please review the bookmarks within the PDF to visit the relevant section.

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Draft WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System
  3. Draft Specifications (Revised)
    1. WaterSense Specification for Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance Certification Programs
    2. WaterSense Specification for Irrigation System Designer Certification Programs
    3. WaterSense Specification for Irrigation System Auditor Certification Programs
  4. Applications

Interested parties had the opportunity to submit comments on the draft labeling system, draft revised specifications, and applications until November 19, 2013. In addition, on October 30, 2013, EPA held a teleconference and webinar with stakeholders to discuss the draft labeling system and revised specifications. For more information, please review:

Please contact the WaterSense Helpline at watersense@epa.gov or (866) WTR–SENS (987–7367) if you have any questions.

Notice of Intent

On October 11, 2012, EPA issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) (8 pp, 91 K, About PDF) outlining several important changes that WaterSense is considering that will revise both the Specifications for Certification Programs for Irrigation Professionals and the WaterSense irrigation professional partnership.

EPA held listening sessions on November 6, 2012, and November 8, 2012, for interested partners and stakeholders to learn more about the changes.

Visit the final specification web page for details and background on the current specifications for certification programs for irrigation professionals.