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WaterSense: Meets EPA Critera WaterSense Seal An EPA Partnership Program

New Homes Gallery

First WaterSense Labeled New Homes in the Nation

Builder: KB Home
KB Home

Springwood Community
Roseville, CA

In November 2010, national builder KB HomeExit EPA Disclaimermade history at its Springwood community in Roseville, California, when it completed construction of the first new homes built to the WaterSense New Homes Specification. In addition to committing to build every home in the Springwood community to earn the WaterSense label, KB Home quickly expanded its offerings of WaterSense labeled new homes to other communities in Florida and Texas.

Each WaterSense labeled home is designed to use 20 percent less water than a typical new home inside and out—for a family of four, that's a difference of about 50,000 gallons of water per year compared to a typical home, or enough for nearly 2,000 loads of laundry and as much as $600 in annual utility bills! In addition to building the first WaterSense labeled homes, the company has incorporated WaterSense labeled products into every one of the thousands of homes it builds each year across the country.

To educate homeowners on the benefits of saving water, KB Home has displays highlighting WaterSense in its sales offices. As part of the company's Built to Order™ program, homebuyers can select WaterSense labeled products and additional water-efficient features at the KB Home Studio—a retail-like showroom where consumers meet with personal design consultants. To further demonstrate water savings in its model homes, KB Home's Architecture Department prepared a "waterwise" landscaping guide for all its divisions.

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WaterSense Labeled New Homes Rock the Rockies

Builder: GJ Gardner
Gardner Home

Photo courtesy of EV Studio Planning, LLC

From the Colorado River to the Rocky Mountains, the state of Colorado is known for its gorgeous scenery and emphasis on living "green." That makes the WaterSense label feel right at home!

In October 2011, WaterSense builder partner GJ Gardner Northgate completed the region's first WaterSense labeled new home in the Gold Hill Mesa area of Colorado Springs, Colorado. This home, known as "Ascension," is certified to be 20 percent more water–efficient than a typical new home and contains a number of other sustainable features.

WaterSense labeled new homes feature faster hot water delivery, WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, and water-efficient landscaping, at a minimum. Ascension also has an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator. And using the WaterSense water budget tool, Ascension's landscaping was designed to reduce outdoor water use by more than 70 percent!

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First Full Community of WaterSense Labeled New Homes

Builder: Ichijo USA Co., LTD

Photo courtesy of EV Studio Planning, LLC

In January 2012, the zHomeExit EPA Disclaimercommunity in Issaquah, Washington, became the first community of homes in the country in which every home earned the WaterSense label. It is the first townhome, zero-energy, carbon-neutral community in the United Sates, and in addition to the homes each earning the WaterSense label, it also received the Forest Stewardship Council's 2011 award for the best residential project in North America.

zHome has gone above and beyond the WaterSense specification for new homes by including a multitude of WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient design, with a net reduction 70 percent in potable water use compared to a typical King County home. Cascade Water Alliance (2010 WaterSense Partner of the Year) provided WaterSense labeled toilets, showerheads, and bathroom faucets, as well as innovative, real-time use monitors for every unit to ensure maximum efficiency. Each zHome unit also includes a rainwater harvesting tank (ranging in size from 1,000 to 1,800 gallons) that is used for clothes washing and toilet flushing.

The water savings continue outside as well. In addition to choosing plants that provide habitat for birds and wildlife, the landscaping uses drought-tolerant plants that don't require watering once they're established and are enhanced by using nutrient-rich compost that helps hold water, improve soil quality, and reduce runoff.

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Homes Labeled Under WaterSense Labeled New Homes Pilot Program

In August 2008, WaterSense launched the New Homes Pilot Program. Seven builders from across the country volunteered to help EPA demonstrate its draft new homes labeling specification by building homes to meet the WaterSense new home draft water-efficiency criteria. Each builder pledged to construct at least one home to the draft specification and provide feedback to help inform the specification process. Once the spec was finalized, EPA invited builders around the country to join WaterSense and construct WaterSense labeled new homes.

Builders and homeowners in the arid Southwest face water-efficiency challenges different from those in, say, the Northeast. That's why EPA selected builders from a variety of climates to participate in the pilot:

  • Vanguard Homes; Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Aspen Homes of Colorado; Windsor, Colorado
  • Cleantech Homes; Beverly, Massachusetts
  • Dorn Homes; Tubac, Arizona
  • EcoStar Custom Homes; Houston, Texas
  • Nappier and Turner Construction Company; Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Tim O'Brien Homes, Inc.; Waukesha, Wisconsin

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First Home Labeled in the WaterSense Pilot Program

Builder: Vanguard Homes
Vanguard Homes

Vanguard Homes unveiled the first new home to meet EPA's draft criteria for water efficiency and performance in November 2008 as a participant in the WaterSense Labeled New Homes Pilot Program.

When Jennifer Bowman and her family of four moved into this home they found out first hand the benefits of moving into a home built to meet WaterSense criteria for water-efficient new homes. The house, just outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina, touts a host of water-saving features, including kitchen and bathroom fixtures with aerators that reduce the amount of water needlessly sent down the drain as well as WaterSense labeled toilets. "We love this house," says Bowman. "Living here has enabled us to do good things for the environment, without drastically changing our lifestyle."

If anything, some aspects of the home have made life more convenient for the Bowmans. Doorbell-shaped buttons in the kitchen and bathrooms flush and re-circulate water through the pipes, allowing hot water to arrive to fixtures quicker, saving time and water. "Guests are curious when they see those buttons, but once we explain it, they think it's the coolest thing… they think we're like the Jetsons," Bowman says. Indeed, the future is now for homes that can help conserve water resources without giving up quality of life.

Saving some serious change in the process is another perk. The Bowman family's water bills are routinely in the lowest or second-lowest range of usage possible, and they don't have to obsess over every last drop. Still, the Bowmans, who have always been water-conscious, find that their home's performance motivates them to do their part to conserve water.

"When people think green, they think sacrifice," says Bowman, "but [in the future] buying a WaterSense labeled home won't change your way of life, and it won't break the bank. It's also the right thing to do for my kids and eventually my grandkids." Especially in states with recurring drought concerns, conserving water every day by purchasing a home built to the WaterSense program's specification will be a smart investment for future homebuyers andfuture generations.

Learn more about the Bowmans' water-efficient digs in a story featured in University City Magazine (PDF) (3 pp, 1.26MB, About PDF)

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North Carolina Goes One & Two with WaterSense Labeled New Homes

Builder: Nappier & Turner Construction Co., Inc.
Nappier Homes

Nappier & Turner Construction Co., Inc. crossed the threshold into water efficiency with the completion of its first WaterSense labeled new home in late 2009. As a participant in the WaterSense new homes pilot program, Nappier & Turner, based in Hendersonville, North Carolina, has helped lay the foundation for builders across the country to construct WaterSense labeled new homes.

"It feels good to complete our model home and to be able to show consumers how this home is a solution to some of the issues we face today," says Jeff Huntley, president of Nappier & Turner. "This program is a continuation of our commitment to building sensible, green homes that are designed to work well for occupants and are easy on our natural resources. WaterSense gives us the guidelines to help make the right decisions with the homes we are building."

As one of seven builders chosen to participate in EPA's new homes pilot program, Nappier & Turner's home was the second home to be built to the WaterSense draft specification for new homes. Vanguard Homes finished the first WaterSense labeled home as part of the pilot in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in early 2009.

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WaterSense Labeled Homes Excel in Empire State

Builder: Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services
Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Homes

In 2013, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services completed the first homes to earn the WaterSense label in New York, showing that water efficiency excels in this state whose motto is "Excelsior." Homes in the Holly Creek Townhomes community in Ithaca, New York, are the pinnacle of water–and energy–efficiency, earning both the WaterSense label and ENERGY STAR certification. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services' use of WaterSense labeled products also helped Holly Creek Townhomes receive LEED Gold certification.

Holly Creek Townhomes are part of a two-phase affordable housing project designed to save resources in the community in multiple ways. Though located in the water–rich Finger Lakes region, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services recognizes that saving water helps decrease homeowners´ utility bills year after year while preserving local water supplies.

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