EPA WaterSense Turns Focus On Outdoors

Irrigation controllers will soon be the first outdoor product eligible to earn the U.S. EPA WaterSense label. The most efficient irrigation controllers, which operate like a thermostat for sprinkler systems by telling it when to turn on and off, may enable building managers to achieve significant reductions in their water consumption and utility costs.

“As much as half of the water we use on our landscapes goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, and improperly scheduled irrigation systems,” said Sheila Frace, director of EPA’s Office of Water’s Municipal Support Division. “WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers are designed to do the thinking for you and apply water only when needed, to ensure a healthy landscape that doesn’t waste water.”

When watering schedules for irrigation system are set during the hottest and driest months and not adjusted when the weather changes, the result is overwatering for much of the year. WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers, which monitor watering needs based on local weather data, can use significantly less water by applying water only when plants need it—reducing annual water bills and offering convenience and peace of mind while keeping commercial landscapes healthy.

Controllers with the WaterSense label are expected to be available in spring 2012. Like all WaterSense labeled products, WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers must be independently certified to meet EPA’s criteria for water efficiency and performance.

Launched in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers achieve 125 billion gallons of water conservation and more than $2 billion in water and energy bills.