Water & Drought

New homes offer water, energy efficiency


Sprinklers with sensors that determine if the lawn needs to be watered and faucets that cut water use by half used to be luxurious home upgrades. Now, they have become standard features in some new developments.

“It used to be all about marble countertops,” said Natasha Moldoveanu, a sales associate for Meritage Homes. “Not anymore.”

Several water- and energy-efficient features are standard in Meritage Homes’ newest housing project, Solstice, which is under construction in El Dorado Hills. Homes will start around $553,000.

The standard offerings include better insulation, Energy Star certified appliances, and low-flow faucets and showerheads, Moldoveanu said.

Many other homebuilding companies also are offering the features, according to Ioannis Kazanis, director of communications for the North State Building Industry Association.

“The message we are trying to send out is that new homes can be very, very efficient,” Kazanis said.

The features also can be added to older homes. Costs could be up to $20,000, but the initial expense can be offset by savings on electricity and water bills over time, Kazanis said.