Water  Use  in
                                        New  Homes
               Water-Efficiency Benchmarking  for
                       Mew Single-Family  Homes
    F"*% educing water demand helps reduce the cost of
   1^ water and wastewater facilities and helps con-
     \serve precious water resources. In order to bet-
  ter plan water-efficiency programs, however, water
  managers need more information on water use pat-
  terns in new homes, for example:

      Do new homes use more or less water than exist-
      ing homes?
      If there is a difference between new home and
      existing home water use, is it because of inherent
      differences in the efficiencies with which water is
      used, or simply because the new homes are differ-
      ent in size or the number of residents?
      Is it possible to use advanced technologies in new
      homes in order to reduce water demand?

  To answer these questions and provide an empirical
  basis for understanding water use in the 14 million
  new homes that will likely be built nationally in the
  next 10 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection
  Agency (EPA) has funded a grant project that will col-
  lect data from several large water utilities across the
  United States.

  Water Efficiency Benchmarking for New Single Family
  Homes is a nine-city research study funded by EPA to
  establish baseline indoor and outdoor water use pat-
  terns for new homes by collecting empirical data from
  billing records, surveys, and  indirect measurements.
The project will also demonstrate how the use of
advanced technologies can reduce new home water
use compared to homes with water-using equipment
that meets current standards. The study will investi-
gate relationships between household indoor water
use and key variables such as number of residents,
size of home, and types of fixtures and appliances
present. Outdoor water use will be quantified from
total annual use, rates of application, local plant water
requirements, lot size, landscape design, and type of
irrigation system controller.

The study will look at "standard" new homes and
"high-efficiency" new homes built to enhance water
conservation. This will assist with establishment of
targets for builders who wish to provide buyers with
increased water-efficiency options, develop specific
performance criteria, and  create a special designation
to help consumers identify them. The study results
can also enhance the efforts of states and water utili-
ties to establish performance criteria for water use in
new homes.

EPA awarded a $350,000 grant to the Salt Lake City
Water Department to coordinate the multi-city study.
Each of nine study water utilities will contribute
$20,000, for a total project budget of $530,000.  EPA
anticipates the study being completed in December
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                                      June 2006