Easing Water Woes

With the recent drought conditions in the Southeast and ongoing water concerns in the Southwest and California, water conservation has become extremely important to many home buyers. In just one water district in northeastern Florida, the average person uses 54,000 gallons of water a year, an amount that could be dramatically lowered without giving up comfort or function. New homes have a distinct advantage over older, existing homes in this area. Many local building codes now require new houses to be built with more efficient toilets, faucets and shower heads. Since water-saving features are the standard for today's builder, saving water doesn't mean giving up on convenience or great design.

Just by offering your customers Energy Star®-rated appliances, you're helping them save water every time they wash a load of dishes or laundry. Energy Star®-qualified dishwashers, for example, typically use a third less water than non-qualified models. Plus, they're designed to eliminate the need for pre-rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher, which can save up to 20 gallons of water for every load.

save water every time you wash a load of dishes or laundry with energy efficient appliances

High-quality appliances, such as Miele dishwashers, are designed to meet the need to save water and to give buyers a beautiful addition to their kitchen, whatever the style.

"Over time, Miele has reduced water consumption over 50 percent," according to a Miele representative. "We have a long history of environmental sensitivity. And there are so many options for integration. There are a lot of exciting ways to use these products."

Image courtesy of Miele

high quality appliances can help to conserve water

At Alys Beach, a sustainable community on the Gulf coast of the Florida Panhandle, high-end plumbing fixtures are specified by the architects for the design features and performance. But saving water is an equal priority, and environmental program manager Christian Wagley says it's gotten easier to do that in the three years since the community opened.

"We've switched to more efficient toilets; there are more choices now," Wagley says. "As an example of the quality — we put dual flush in our development offices here. With the toilets that were here before, the plumber was here everyday. We put in dual flush toilets and the plumber hasn't been here once in 2 years. They've performed flawlessly.... Just in the last six to eight months, we've been specifying them in all our buildings. We think we can meet the (architects') needs and save water at the same time."

high quality plumbing fixtures and toilets can help to conserve water
Moen's new cottage-style Rothbury Collection is a perfect example of how easy it is for offer buyers great design and water conservation at the same time. Particular attention was paid to detailing, with such features as low-arc spouts, crisp lines and a scalloped, layered design at the base of the handles and faucets. Hidden inside the elegant design is Moen's first water-saving, 1.5 gallon per minute aerator; traditional aerators flow at 2.2 gallons per minute. The water savings don't come at any sacrifice to function, either, says Jerry Capasso, a wholesale product manager. The aerator doesn't produce any noticeable change in traditional water pressure or flow, "so homeowners will still be able to conduct their normal bathroom activities, such as washing their face or brushing their teeth, while saving water."
it is possible to combine great design and water conservation with Moen faucets

Many builders now are participating in water conservation certification programs similar to the Energy Star® program for energy conservation. In central Florida, Mercedes Homes has begun building houses to Florida Water Star standards -- with enthusiastic responses from customers who see how much money it can save them on their utility bills, without losing any of the beauty they expect in a new home.

The homes' water-saving features include highly efficient toilets, plumbing and appliances that save between 20 to 26 percent on indoor water use. Outdoors, the houses incorporate lush, drought-tolerant native plants, minimal turf and soil moisture sensors to prevent overwatering. Those feature cut outdoor water use by up to 40 percent, for a total of as much as 8,000 gallons a month.

Builders are designing houses that are energy efficient

"Water is huge," says Stuart McDonald, a corporate vice president of operations for a large real estate contractor. "We're not making any more water, so we had better take care of what we've got. It's the right thing to do."