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Chatham home certified as first water-efficient in U.S.

Posted November 25, 2008

— Government officials and builder Vanguard Homes gave tours Tuesday of a North Carolina house that is the first home in the nation built and certified to be water-efficient under a federal pilot project.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the house is the first to be certified as 20 percent more water-efficient than regular homes. It will save more than 10,000 gallons of water per year.

“Fundamentally, it’s the right thing to do,” Vanguard Homes representative Kip Guyon said.

Tours of the model home were given Tuesday. It is located at 16 Windy Knoll Circle in the Briar Chapel community off of the U.S. Highway 15-501 development in Chatham County, just south of Chapel Hill.

It is designed to use significantly less water inside and out, through efficient plumbing fixtures, hot water delivery, appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems.

The builder is participating in the WaterSense program that is sponsored by EPA. A WaterSense pilot project was launched in August.

For a home to be EPA certified, it must be at least 20 percent more water efficient than homes built by traditional standards.

“It’s just making stuff that isn’t as efficient as it should be, more efficient,” Guyon said.

Vanguard Homes said some of the new homes in the Briar Chapel community will also carry the same conservation measures featured in the model home.

Vanguard Homes officials said the concept home will cost between $250,000 and $400,000. Builders and experts agree that not everyone has to spend that much money to make a home water-efficient.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson suggests “just some common sense things.”

“Turning the shower off or when you’re brushing your teeth turning the faucet off in between brushes,” Johnson said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dmccall Nov 26, 2008

    whatusay - "sprinklers waste water" is a short-sighted criticism. In fact, a healthy lawn (one that is watered appropriately in the fall) uses less water and less herbicide than one that isn't watered appropriately; constantly having to be weeded and revived.

  • dmccall Nov 26, 2008

    What are we "saving" the water from? Reentering the environment in a closed loop. That's what.

  • Justin T. Nov 25, 2008

    Dude... my house is a hybrid.

  • Jeremiah Nov 25, 2008

    "If they have an outside sprinkler system in their yard they are wasting water."

    Not if they're using graywater.

  • Jeremiah Nov 25, 2008

    if you don't want to pay higher rates, stop using the water. simple as that.

  • SomeRandomGuy Nov 25, 2008

    "Also, one should consider that using less water will eventually lessen municipal water/sewer expenses by 1. reducing the amount of potable water treated; 2. reducing the amount of wastewater treated; and 3. reducing the nutrient load on our rivers, thus "possibly" not requiring municipalities to increase their nutrient removal technologies, which would incur a cost on the taxpayer."- Waterrox
    I would have thought conservation would have had that same effect, but nothing changed except the raising of rates.

  • whatusay Nov 25, 2008

    If they have an outside sprinkler system in their yard they are wasting water.

  • Tom Morrow Nov 25, 2008

    Wow. Just wow. Some of the comments.... If WRAL reported that the Federal gov't (or State for that matter) declared the official color of the sky blue, there would be a myriad of negative comments on here.

    FURTHERMORE, the mentality of "let's use as much as we want" is just not sustainable. Period. Finite resources, people. Fine, those resources may not run out in your lifetime, or your kids' lifetimes, but they are still finite!! Changing just a few habits can greatly reduce consumption of those resources when the changes are adopted by many people.

    I suggest the naysayers for ANYTHING that has to do with sustainability look up a little phenomenon called "The Tragedy of the Commons."

  • squid90 Nov 25, 2008

    I believe that the landscape will be destroyed after a few heavy rainfalls. If it is built for survival with little rain, what does one think will happen with the deluges we get around here.

  • Subdivisions Nov 25, 2008

    Same thing happened with gasoline. Prices went up, people began to use less, and government got less money. Now there's all this talk about removing the gas tax cap.