Sustainable Houses

Portland’s Water House Focuses on Water Conservation

A lot of green homes nowadays are built to be energy efficient, but completely ignore the issue of residential water conservation. Portland’s Water House is an ingenious project that is both water conscious and energy efficient.

Located on a city-owned lot in Northeast Portland’s Russell neighborhood, the Water House is the first WaterSense-certified project in Oregon. EPA’s WaterSense is a relatively new program similar to EnergyStar for Homes that focuses on water conservation rather than energy efficiency. Although it is perfectly functional, this particular house is not a private residence, but a sustainable demonstration home owned by the city of Portland and open to public viewing. It functions “like a laboratory for the public and industry to learn more about sustainable building practices, materials and systems.”

According to the Portland Water Bureau, the Water House has welcomed 1,700 guests through public and private events, since it opened up in February 2011. It will continue to host tours and events until 2012, when it will finally be sold as an eco-friendly private home. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom measures 2,199 square feet and was designed to save 20% more water than conventional houses. Apart from being WaterSense-certified, the Water House also meets the requirements of the EnergyStar and Earth Advantage Platinum programs, making it one of the greenest residences in America.

Among the Water Houses’s most important features are a LifeBreath heat recovery ventilator, Daikin Mini-Split heating and cooling systems, Rheem Marathon electric water heater, Kohler fixtures, Fisher & Paykel appliances, recycled paints, triple-paned windows, recycled glass countertops and bamboo cabinetry, sustainable landscaping including a rain garden. Over 30 local green companies contributed almost$150,000 in products and services to the Water House project which has a price tag of $400,000. Not exactly the most affordable green house out there, but it’s definitely worth checking out for all its green features.






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