Hudson Sangree, THE SACRAMENTO BEE
A demonstration house unveiled in El Dorado Hills last week by national builder KB Home recycles drain water for toilets and landscaping and can power itself entirely with solar panels. Its innovative systems are compact and unobtrusive, and will likely come down in price, making them viable upgrades for new home buyers in coming years, company officials said.
“These are futuristic things, but they’re systems you can do today,” said Dan Bridleman, the company’s senior vice president for technology and sustainability. The features are still relatively expensive, but Bridleman said the cost will fall sufficiently over time so that homebuyers will see a built-in water recycling unit or a house that doesn’t need to draw power from the grid as a “good value proposition.”
KB’s 2,600-square-foot “Double ZeroHouse 3.0” is located in its Fiora subdivision in Blackstone, a 990-acre master planned community along Latrobe Road. Blackstone, like other communities in El Dorado Hills, uses recycled water produced by the area’s two wastewater treatment plants to water lawns.
Water recycling has been gaining momentum in California’s historic drought. Cities including Sacramento are planning to use more of it in coming years for landscape irrigation and to cool power stations. Most recycled water is produced by large municipal wastewater plants.
The Double ZeroHouse takes water recycling to the next level by providing on-site treatment in a system developed by an Australian-American venture called Nexus eWater. The system isn’t approved for household use yet, but company officials say they expect the state to certify it within the next year.
The system gathers gray water from showers, sinks and washing machines in an underground 80-gallon reservoir that looks like a black plastic barrel. Above ground, in a locker-size treatment unit, contaminants such as hair and lint are bubbled out with soap and air, said Tom Wood, Nexus eWater’s chief technology officer.
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