WaterSense

Buying and Selling

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Whether in drought-prone regions of the country or on the shores of a glimmering lake, a WaterSense labeled home makes sense for any home-buyer. Using water more efficiently not only saves the resident water, energy, and money on their utility bills, but can also benefit entire communities by reducing stress on local infrastructure. You can help consumers and your community save water for future generations by helping identify products and homes that have earned the WaterSense label.

Real Estate Professionals

The market for "green" homes has consistently been—and is expected to remain—one of the healthiest segments of the residential real estate industry. If you are a real estate professional, now is the perfect time to set yourself apart in your local market by making yourself an expert on the next generation of green building—water efficiency.

Even if WaterSense labeled homes haven't arrived in your neighborhood, you can still promote water efficiency. A bathroom makeover with water efficient products may help sell an existing home. A WaterSense labeled aerator or showerhead or low water use house plant can also make a great housewarming gift and get clients off to a water efficient start in their home.

WaterSense Promotional Partners

To help save water in their communities, HBAs, HOAs, local utilities, governments, and municipalities can spread the word about water efficiency by becoming WaterSense promotional partners. Promotional partners have access to a suite of tools and resources they can use to help recruit builders to partner with WaterSense and promote WaterSense labeled new homes in their communities.

WaterSense Builder Partners

By partnering with WaterSense and constructing homes to earn the label, builders can establish their commitment to conserving natural resources in the communities they serve. EPA has created tools and resources to help builders promote their WaterSense partnership, build homes to meet EPA's criteria, educate homeowners about the home's features, and market newly labeled homes.

Showcase of Homes

New Homes Pilot Program

University City Magazine profiled the first family to move into a home built to the Single-Family New Home Specification. For more information, please read the article (3 pp, 1.4 MB, About PDF).

In August 2008, WaterSense launched the New Homes Pilot Program. Seven builders participated in the pilot program and committed to building at least one new home that meets EPA's Draft Single-Family New Home Specification:

  • 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

Vanguard Homes unveiled the first new home to meet EPA's draft criteria for water efficiency and performance in November 2008. Houses built to the draft new homes specification included WaterSense labeled toilets and bathroom faucets and ENERGY STAR labeled appliances Exitand other water-efficient features indoors, as well as water-efficient landscaping outdoors. WaterSense labeled homes are built to use 20 percent less water than conventional new homes.

 

zHome: The First Community of All WaterSense Labeled New Homes in the Nation

zHome barrelIn January 2012 the zHomeExit community in Issaquah, WA became the first community of homes in the Nation in which every home had earned the WaterSense label. It is the first, zero-energy, carbon-neutral townhome community in the US, and in addition to the homes each earning the WaterSense label, zHome 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 homes by including a multitude of WaterSense products and water-efficient design, with a net reduction of 70 percent in potable water use compared to a typical King County home. 2010 WaterSense Partner of the Year, Cascade Water Alliance, 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.

zHome with plantsThe 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. In the end, the landscape didn’t cost more, it just a took smart landscape design. 

The zHome community is not only a stellar example of water-efficient building practices, but also represents the true spirit of strategic collaboration and support by WaterSense partners – Ichijo USA, the City of Issaquah, King County (Washington) and Cascade Water Alliance, and stakeholders Built Green, Port Blakely Communities, Puget Sound Energy and the Washington State University Energy Program.