Water Smart Home unveiled in Nevada

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association unveiled the first Water Smart Home on May 2. KB Home Nevada built the home as the first builder in the Water Smart Home program. This program certifies new homes and neighborhoods as water-smart, ensuring that homeowners are purchasing a home that can save as much as 75,000 gallons of water per year.

Homebuilders participating in the Water Smart Home program may select from among three designations, which include Water Smart Home (a single-family home constructed by the builder that meets SNWA standards), Water Smart Neighborhood (a multi-home development of single-family homes and common area landscapes and structures that meet SNWA standards) and Water Smart Builder (all single-family homes and common areas the builder constructs in Southern Nevada will meet or exceed Water Smart Home standards). KB Home has selected the designation of Water Smart Builder, the highest level of participation. KB Home expects to build 2,500 water-smart homes this year.

"The Water Smart Home program shows that water-efficiency doesn't mean doing without. It means doing more with less," said SNWA General Manager Pat Mulroy. "We're thrilled that KB Home made this kind of commitment to the community. We've worked for nearly two years with the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association to create a program that offers all of the comforts of a new home, but uses far less water than a home built ten years ago."

Outdoors, the homes feature water-smart landscaping in the front yard and have standards for builder-installed backyard landscaping. Indoors, the homes include high-efficiency dishwashers, faucets and showerheads. Optional features and appliances such as washing machines will also be water-efficient. The standards will help to reduce water use without altering homeowners' quality of life.

"For years, KB Home Nevada has offered water-smart features in our homes," said Don Delgiorno, KB Home Nevada executive vice president. "The Water Smart Home program takes that commitment one step further. Every neighborhood KB Home builds in Southern Nevada will be water-smart."

That promise is echoed by the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, which helped develop the Water Smart Home program. "The Water Smart Home program is one more way home builders are helping to enhance the quality of life in Southern Nevada," said Irene Porter, SNHBA executive director. "With efficiencies both indoors and out, we're helping new homeowners to make a difference in the community one home at a time."

Features of a Water Smart Home:

Landscape

  • Irrigation systems designed to eliminate runoff potential
  • Maximum of 1,000 square feet of turf/pool area in the backyard, without regard to how large the yard is (current code allows half of back and side yards, no matter how large)
  • No ornamental water features, even if they conform to the current 25 square-foot limit
  • Specific requirements for irrigation systems that don't exist in code (pressure regulators, separate valving, filtration, minimum 4" sprinkler pop-up, multi-program digital controller, etc.)
  • Requirement to audit and meet minimum efficiency standards on private community parks

Swimming Pools

  • Limited surface area for community pools (20 square feet per home maximum vs. average single family pool of 425 square feet per home)
  • Sewer cleanout in protected, marked enclosure to ease proper pool draining
  • Limitations (24") on pool features that drop or propel water, such as waterfalls or fountains

Plumbing

  • 60 psi pressure (current code is 80 psi); lower pressure reduces water use, equipment failures and leaks
  • Prohibited from installing multiple showerheads or body spa systems if the combined flow exceeds 2.5 gallons per minute
  • Efficient hot water systems required such as recirculating pumps, manifold systems and/or point-of-use systems

Appliances

  • Only high-efficiency dishwashers and washing machines may be offered
  • Water softeners required to be demand-based regeneration (rather than timer based) and accept potassium
  • Drinking water treatment devices must have a yield of 85 percent of the water available for beneficial uses in the home
  • Air conditioning systems must have zero net consumptive use (no evaporative systems)
The Water Smart Business Interest Form is available here: http://www.snwa.com/html/wsbiz_form.html

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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