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Outdoor Power Equipment Welcomes Removal of 40 Percent Turf Limitation in Final WaterSense Specification for New Homes

September 4, 2012

Alexandria, VA – September 4, 2012 – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed its 40 percent turf limitation in the newly published WaterSense® New Home Specification.  Released on Friday, 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% 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 at 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 “Not only did we see this turf limitation withdrawn from the WaterSense specification, but we also kept the turf limitation from expanding to the International Green Construction Code.”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.

About OPEI

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 84 small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety and performance standards. For more information, visit