WaterSense Demonstrations WaterSense Labeled Home
The modern version of this 30-year-old home, which once housed AgriLife employees, bears little resemblance to its former self. This award winning example of residential water efficiency began its transformation in the summer of 2012 after years of sitting abandoned on campus. Water University experts mounted a complete overhaul of the home’s 1,200 square-foot yard and 1,500 square-foot floor plan.
The team replaced fixtures and appliances, installed efficient hot-water-on-demand and irrigation systems, and landscaped the yard to be water-efficient. The goal was two-fold: earn certification from WaterSense, a nationwide program established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and make the home an appealing and convincing demonstration site for consumers to visit and learn about water conservation.
To be WaterSense certified, homes must meet standard criteria in three areas: indoor water use, including plumbing, plumbing fixtures and fittings, and appliances; outdoor water use, including landscape design and any installed irrigation systems (which are optional); and homeowner education.
Today, the demonstration space hosts about 10,000 visitors per year for educational tours and classes on water efficiency inside the household and out.
According to EPA, a WaterSense-labeled new home, compared to a traditional home, can save a family of four as much as 50,000 gallons of water annually – enough water to wash 2,000 loads of laundry. And, because heating less water and using less water also means using less energy, the combined water and energy savings could reduce the home’s utility bills by up to $600 per year.
Many partners worked alongside Water University, EPA and Dallas Water Utilities on the project, helping to make the high quality of the home possible. AgriLife staff also saved costs and made the project more relatable to consumers by doing the vast majority of the renovation themselves.
The home’s backyard was completed almost entirely by AgriLife staff. It features an array of textures and colors: Hamelin grass, shrubs, river rocks, slate stones for the pervious patio, decorative crushed blue glass, Blackfoot daisies and water-efficient Zoysia Palisades turfgrass. All of the plant species in the landscape are native or adapted to the region, translating to optimal water-efficiency.
A 1,000-gallon rainwater tank at the rear of the home works alongside rain barrels to provide all irrigation of the front and back yard. The system is equipped with a backup municipal water irrigation line just in case.