Local News

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

Posted November 25, 2008 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2008 6:31 p.m. EST

— 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.