We felt a moral imperative to avoid contributing to diminishing water supplies in our high desert region. And when you have to pump, it means that water equals energy—so minimizing consumption became a big part of our net-zero plan. We use:
Zero outdoor irrigation. Landscaping incorporates native, drought-tolerant grasses and trees. We harvest all the rainwater from our roof by diverting it into two 9-inch-deep rain gardens.
WaterSense fixtures. All shower heads and faucets are U.S. EPA WaterSense certified.
Ultra low-flow toilets. The Coroma toilets are WaterSense-certified dual-flush units with 0.8 and 1.2 gallons per flush. An integrated hand-washing sink sends hand-wash “greywater” into the tank for the next flush.
Highest-tier Energy Star dishwasher and washing machine. These appliances consume 20% to 30% less water than standard appliances. Our Bosch clothes dryer is a condensing style that does not vent to the outside but rather condenses water from the clothes. We collect this water for indoor plants.
Hot water recirculation. We installed an ACT D’Mand whole-house hot water recirculation system and a dedicated hot water loop to and from the solar storage tank. When hot water is needed for showers or dishwashing, a push-button starts the circulation pump, which continues to circulate until the water in the return loop reaches 120°F. This process takes two to three minutes and prevents water from running down the drain while waiting for it to warm up.