Buying and Selling
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.
- Review and share the Smart Investment with WaterSense brochure (2 pp, 1.8 MB, About PDF) with your customers to explain what goes into building, buying and owning a WaterSense labeled home.
- Promote local WaterSense Builder Partners. Find a full list of the builders that have already committed to building WaterSense labeled homes using the WaterSense partner directory. You can also encourage builders you work with to partner with WaterSense. Spread the word about the benefits to building WaterSense Labeled Homes (PDF)(1 pp, 580 K, About PDF) or units in Multi-family Homes (PDF) (1 pp, 114 K, About PDF).
- Encourage consumers to "Look for" and "Ask about" WaterSense. Highlight WaterSense on your website, sales listing, business cards, or in-home displays. Call the WaterSense Helpline at (866)WTR-SENS (987-7367) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request artwork.
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.
New Homes Pilot Program
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
In 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.
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. 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.
Homes Gallery (WS Labeled Homes Case Studies)
First WaterSense Labeled Homes in the Nation
Builder: KB Home
In November 2010, national builder KB HomeExit made 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 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.
WaterSense Labeled Homes Rock the Rockies
Builder: GJ Gardner
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 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!
First Full Community of WaterSense Labeled New Homes
Builder: Ichijo USA Co., LTD
In January 2012, the zHomeExit community 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, 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 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.
First Home Labeled in the WaterSense New Pilot Program
Builder: 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 and future generations.
North Carolina Goes One & Two with WaterSense Labeled New Homes
Builder: Nappier & Turner Construction Co., Inc.
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.
WaterSense Labeled Homes Excel in Empire State
Builder: Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services
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.