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The first home to be certified under the EPA’s WaterSense New Home pilot program, Vanguard’s “Sensibly Green” house also follows NAHB and Green Home Builders of the Triangle green building guidelines.

Credit: (c)2008 Kevin Seifert/

Vanguard Homes of North Carolina has unveiled the country’s first house in the WaterSense New Home pilot program. The Chapel Hill, N.C., house includes water-efficient products inside and out as well as water-conserving design features and Energy Star-rated appliances.


Vanguard Homes is one of seven builders participating in the EPA-sponsored WaterSense New Homes pilot that will help to shape the agency’s final Water-Efficient Single-Family New Home program. WaterSense-certified homes will be at least 20% more water efficient than a traditional home, conserving more than 10,000 gallons of water per year, according to the EPA.

The 2,532-square-foot Vanguard dwelling features WaterSense-labeled dual-flush toilets, water-conserving faucets, and high-efficiency showerheads. Eco-friendly landscaping and irrigation further reduce water consumption, and Energy Star-certified washers and dishwashers and a hot water circulation pump also work to save water.

Construction has started on other WaterSense pilot houses, according to EPA spokesperson Enesta Jones, but there is no timeline for their certification as of now.

The specifications for WaterSense New Home projects are expected to be finalized sometime in 2009, according to Jones. Builders can check the WaterSense Web site for updates.

Products used in Vanguard Homes’ WaterSense New Home include:

Mansfield. The EcoQuantum dual-flush toilet can reduce daily toilet water consumption to about 3.8 gallons per person, significantly less than the 20.1-gallon average, the firm says. Users simply push the handle down for 1.0 gpf and pull up for 1.6 gpf. The toilets are available in white, classic bone, and biscuit. 877.850.3060.

Moen. Rothbury 1.5-gpm bathroom faucets conserve water without sacrificing performance, the company says. Finishes include chrome, brushed nickel, antique bronze, and oil-rubbed bronze. 800.289.6636.

Moen. Rothbury flow-optimized showerheads use 30% less water than traditional showerheads. Spray formers concentrate the flow, reducing the amount of water used compared to standard showerheads, while still providing a satisfying shower experience, the firm says. 800.289.6636.

Metlund. The Hot Water D’mand system pumps hot water to plumbing fixtures so that water isn’t wasted down the drain until hot water arrives at the fixture. At the push of a button, the system circulates the ambient-temperature water in the hot water pipes back to the water heater, moving water so rapidly that hot water arrives at the fixtures before the heat is lost through the pipe, the company says. 800.638.5863.

Jenn-Air. The Energy Star-qualified SteamClean dishwasher provides enhanced soil and spot cleaning of stemware. The unit features an integrated electronic control panel, a stainless steel interior, an UltraClean wash system, and start/delay options. 800.537.7247.

Whirlpool. The Energy Star-qualified Duet HT washer offers 14 cycles and 6th Sense technology, which determines the size of the load and how much water and heat is needed to clean it. Dynamic stability control and a six-point suspension system reduce vibration, the company says. Cycle options include quick-wash, delicate, and sanitary. 866.698.2538.

3M. The AP903 whole-house water filtration system reduces sediment, chlorine taste, and odor for up to 100,000 gallons while providing unrestricted flow up to 20 gpm, the company says. The unit, which the firm says features easy and mess-free cartridge changing, comes with a 25-year limited head warranty. 888.364.3577.

Demilec. Sealection 500 spray-foam insulation expands within seconds to 120 times its volume to fill every nook and cranny, providing superior energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality by eliminating air movement through walls, the company says. It is ideal for insulating cathedral ceilings, conditioned attics, and wall cavities.  877.336.4532.

Fronius. The Fronius IG photovoltaic inverter is compatible with any size PV system and is ideal for smaller systems. The lightweight unit features fully programmable operation and a powerful HF transformer that extracts the maximum energy yield from all types of modules, the company says. 810.220.4414.


Weathermatic. Weather-based irrigation scheduling can save homeowners up to 50% on lawn-watering costs annually while preventing over-watering, runoff, and soil erosion, the firm says. The SLW20 on-site weather station relays air temperature and rain and freeze conditions to the company’s SL1600 controller, which computes the most effective watering schedule each day. Irrigation is adjusted to accommodate changing conditions or to shut down completely during rain or high wind. 888.484.3776.

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