Water Efficiency Not Just Talk for Wisconsin Utility

Madison Water Utility prepares to build a home designed with water conservation in mind to educate customers

Water Efficiency Not Just Talk for Wisconsin Utility

Madison Water Utility is planning to use this vacant lot as a public education tool by building a house focused around water conservation features. (Photo by Wisconsin State Journal)

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Water conservation can be a worn-out topic, but Madison (Wisconsin) Water Utility is taking control of the conversation with an innovative new “water conservation house.”

The utility is selling three unused residential lots to a developer, with the agreement that one of the houses be a demonstration house modeling a variety of water-saving features.

“We think it’s something that would really be a great teaching tool and then a great house for whoever ultimately buys it,” says Amy Barrilleaux, utility spokeswoman, in an article by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Madison Water plans to invest $87,000 for design and administration, $72,000 of that going toward architectural fees.

After an undetermined amount of time devoted to conservation outreach and education, the developer will sell the house.

Originally, the utility planned to construct the house itself to the tune of a $300,000 budget. Instead, it decided to work through a developer, which would minimize risk for the utility.

The house will entail not only a custom design and construction showcasing water conservation elements such as rainwater capture for toilet use and specialized landscaping, but also simple water-efficient fixtures like low-flow faucets.

“Inside the home, we’re hoping to show what just changing out a few key things in your home can do for water conservation,” Barrilleaux says in the Wisconsin State Journal article.

The utility anticipates it will at least break even on the project, potentially even turning a profit depending on the sale of the lots. It is hoping the project will be completed within the year, and is planning on the house acting as an educational tool for at least six months.

“We think it’s a fun and exciting project, but a little challenging in the fact that we want to make sure we can accomplish these goals in a way that’s meaningful to people that will come to the house, learn from it, and then try to hopefully implement some of these features,” says Adam Wiederhoeft, utility engineer, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal


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