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EPA finalizes new smart water usage guidelines

Could a smart WaterSense system become a differentiator in which new home you buy?
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Last winter, while my ma-and-pa-in-law were escaping the New York winter down in Florida, something went haywire in their heating system. This resulted in what we tactfully refer to as the "flood of January 2009," during which their house was saturated with steam from burst pipes and their garage door represented some sort of artistic ice sculpture from all the water that flowed through the garage ceiling and out over the door. In fact, it was this rather unusual formation that clued their neighbors into the situation, which had been evidently going on for days.

Hundreds if not thousands of gallons of wasted water.

So, while the Copenhagen elite fight over climate change and carbon emissions reductions, lets not forget that water and water conversation also looms large in the vision of a smarter planet.

In that spirit, the Environmental Protection Agency has released a new WaterSense specification for single family homes. Its aim is to get home builders acquainted with the labeling system, which integrates EnergyStar appliances, in order to improve water usage efficiency. The EPA estimates that WaterSense can help homeowners improve their water usage efficiency by up to 20 percent. That translates into an average of 10,000 gallons per year, which is enough to fill a swimming people. There's also an potential energy efficiency boost, enough to power a television for four years.

WaterSense covers plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, water-efficient landscaping guidelines and hot water systems. It will also help you keep closer track of water usage patterns so even if you're not at home, you'll be able to tell when something has gone awry.

Now, about all those "old" homes that need retrofitting, like my in-laws. That will be a longer term battle.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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