The EPA WaterSense New Home Specification does not have a mandatory requirement for the delivery of operating manuals on all water using equipment. However, providing building managers and homeowners with operating manuals can increase the working lifetime of these systems. The following are recommended best practices:
For multi-family buildings, it is recommended that the the builder provides the building management an operating and maintenance manual for all water-using equipment and controls outside of individual dwellings or inside of individual dwellings that are maintained by building management.
Irrigation Systems – If an irrigation system is installed, it is recommended that the builder provides building management with a record drawing (e.g., schematic) of the system, an itemized list of irrigation components, copies of the irrigation schedules, and information about reprogramming the schedule after establishment of the landscape.
Pools/Spas - If pools and/or spas are present, it is recommended that the builder includes detailed information regarding filtration equipment and the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, as well information on monitoring pools/spas for leaks.
Building maintenance staff need general information about the unique water-using features of the building and information on the proper maintenance of its fixtures, settings, and equipment. WaterSense has developed the Building Operating Manual Template for WaterSense Labeled Homes to help builders integrate water efficiency information into a manual designed for maintenance staff. This template is included as part of the new homes marketing tools that builders can access when they sign a WaterSense partnership agreement with EPA.
The building operating manual should be designed for ease of use. Where possible, include the names of vendors where the maintenance staff can purchase replacement parts (e.g., replacement cartridges for pool filtration systems) or contractors to service systems. The manual should be designed for long-term use, since it may change hands as maintenance staff changes. The manual should still be useful many years after the building has been constructed.
Irrigation Systems - Providing the building maintenance staff with a schematic of the system is important for conducting system repairs, as well as any future activity that might require excavation. The itemized list will allow building maintenance staff and their irrigation contractors to replace parts as necessary to maintain the performance and efficiency of the system. One of the most important aspects of efficient irrigation is to educate the maintenance staff on the importance of changing the watering schedule as plants’ water needs change.
These materials should be obtained from the certified irrigation professional and included in the Building Operating Manual.
Pools/Spas - Providing the building maintenance staff with information on the pool’s filtration equipment and the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is important for conducting system repairs and routine maintenance. Providing information on monitoring pool/spas for leaks is also important to ensure the system is working efficiently.
These materials should be obtained from the pool/spa contractor and included in the Building Operating Manual.
Application to Existing Homes
The measure described in this guide applies equally well to new and existing homes.
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