Water conservation is priority at zHome, WaterSense honoree
March 6, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
The carbon-neutral zHome townhouses in the Issaquah Highlands receive most attention for steps to reduce energy use.
The 10-unit development received attention in late January for attention to water conservation, too. The community is the first in the United States to earn the WaterSense label for new homes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The program is based on the successful EnergyStar conservation effort.
What to know
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials offer tips for residents to reduce water use at home. Find more tips, and learn more about the WaterSense label, at www.epa.gov/watersense.
In the house
Repair leaky faucets, indoors and outside.
Consider replacing old equipment, such as toilets, dishwashers and clothes washers.
In the kitchen
Peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water.
Fill the sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes.
Run the dishwasher only if the unit is full.
When buying a dishwasher, select a model with a light-wash option.
Only use the garbage disposal if necessary.
Install faucet aerators.
In the bathroom
Take short showers instead of baths.
Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave and soap up in the shower. Fill the sink to shave.
Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, the toilet is leaking.
Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The agency recognized zHome to lower utility bills for residents, reduce strain on water and wastewater systems, preserve water for salmon and other organisms, and create fewer greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced energy demands for water treatment and delivery.
The project is designed to use 70 percent less potable water than a typical King County home. The zHome units feature a rainwater-collection system, and use filtered rainwater to flush toilets and fill clothes washers. The rainwater cisterns at each residence range from 1,000 to 1,800 gallons.
EPA officials joined city leaders, Cascade Water Alliance members and zHome developers at a Jan. 25 ceremony to receive the WaterSense designation.
“We are extremely excited that the zHome units received the new WaterSense New Homes certification,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “We hope zHome inspires homebuilders and homeowners to take advantage of the same water-saving benefits with their projects.”
In order to receive the WaterSense label, a home must use at least 20 percent less water than a newly constructed standard home. The home also uses WaterSense-labeled fixtures designed to perform as well or better than traditional fixtures.
The project opened in September 2011 after a long planning and construction process. Ichijo USA joined the project in early 2010 in a joint venture between the company and developer Matt Howland. The recession stalled zHome construction.
“EPA is proud to recognize the zHome project, built and developed by Ichijo USA and Seattle builder Matt Howland, as one of the leaders in the Pacific Northwest in helping to advance water efficiency,” said Paula vanHaagen, EPA Grants and Planning Unit manager in Seattle.
The honor is the latest milestone for zHome. The project received local and international attention before construction ended.
In April 2011, Liljequist received a Green Globe Award, King County’s top eco honor, in Community Leadership in Green Building for zHome. In October 2011, the Forest Stewardship Council U.S. recognized zHome as the best residential project for using sustainable lumber.
Gov. Chris Gregoire highlighted the project in a speech about sustainable industries at the Sustainable Cities Forum, a part of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.