A cure for water-guzzling homes

Indoor water consumption isn't the problem

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 5, 2011

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"It's true there's a lot of new technology out there, but homebuilders can't get too far ahead of the curve," Broad said. "We can't give things away, which would put us at a competitive disadvantage, so we try to find as many win-win situations as possible."

Some new technologies don't make economic sense. For example, in Las Vegas Pulte installed leak-detection devices, but since so few houses spring leaks it would be an embedded item that people wouldn't really want to pay for. (I, however, could use one of those, as my sprinkler system goes pop -- and geysers erupt -- much too often.)

These new programs do work. As Bennett pointed out, the WaterSmart homes used half as much water as those new homes of preceding years, including those that were built just the year before.

I ask Bennett, what the -- pardon the pun -- landscape was for water efficiency in the years ahead.

He said, "We are making progress. National code developers are starting to move in the direction of greener measures for commercial and residential buildings; WaterSense programs have standards for showerheads and faucets; more efficient appliances such as toilets have become mainstream; and the International Code Council is moving in a green direction."

In Arizona, Nevada and other Southwestern states, we are all moving in a "brown" direction. Turf front yards are banned in many desert locales, with recommendations for landscaping with native plants.

"Whether consumers choose turf or desert landscaping actually has a greater impact than what we as builders are doing inside the house," Broad said.

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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