House is first in nation to meet water-saver standard

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A new house in North Carolina that uses innovative water-saving appliances and construction design was recognized Tuesday by federal environmental leaders as the nation's first to meet standards of a new program promoting water efficiency.

The 2,560-square-foot model home in the Briar Chapel community, just south of Chapel Hill, includes numerous water-efficiency features, including low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, insulated hot water lines and a recirculating hot water system so that people run less water waiting for it to get warm. Even the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came from Washington to look at all the features.

"Water is a resource we're going to have to preserve," said Kip Guyon, president of Vanguard Homes, which built the house. "Our incentive was to be a leader in the business."

The house's water-efficient design meets the voluntary specifications to be certified as a WaterSense home. The program, introduced by the EPA in 2006, makes it easier for consumers to identify water-efficient appliances, much like the more familiar Energy Star program does with energy-efficient appliances.

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