Water is no longer something we can take for granted. The conversation about water is increasingly important in our industry and across the regions in which we build as drought conditions have elevated this issue. In addition, water scarcity and balancing growth with serving the needs of its current citizens are important considerations for local governments in approving new-home construction, making water conservation an important practical business consideration. KB Home has been an industry leader in taking on this challenge, balancing the need to build thoughtful water conservation into our homes today with exploration of select emerging technologies that may become critical components of the home of tomorrow.
We were the first national builder to make water conservation a priority by joining EPA’s WaterSense program. Our early industry leadership in water conservation includes a history of additional firsts, including being the first national homebuilder to:
Our focus and operational consistency in this area have allowed us to make a real-world impact:
Kohler® and KB Home share a forward-looking belief that environmental sustainability and good business go hand in hand. For more than a decade, our two companies have partnered to increase water conservation in the new home market with new plumbing fixtures that are more efficient and work better, as well as early leadership in EPA's WaterSense program. We are proud that American consumers are reaping the benefits.
As a leading voice for sustainability in our industry, we seek to identify promising new technologies and support the development of innovative new products for the production home market. We were the first national homebuilder to introduce greywater technologies for reusing water into production homes and have been an early proponent of companies developing new water management technologies. We have showcased or piloted new products under development in this arena in order to provide customer feedback and builder perspective to their manufacturers. These include:
Water Management Systems: We were early supporters of Phyn, Inc., makers of a residential water management system, by featuring alpha versions of their product in our ZeroHouses in 2014. We have continued to collaborate with them, and in 2016, featured their beta version at the Greenbuild KB ProjeKt® concept home. This past January, Phyn Plus system officially launched at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show® (CES). Phyn Plus provides water usage data to homeowners, raising awareness in order to potentially reduce water consumption. It also includes an automatic shutoff and remote alert via smart phone when it detects unusual activity like when a child forgets to shut off a bathroom faucet. We are working with Phyn to develop the case for including it in our offerings.
Greywater Recycling: We piloted our first greywater recycling systems in 2014 as part of our ZeroHouses, followed by a limited deployment in a KB Home community, which unfortunately did not yield optimal results. The initial systems we piloted had a larger capacity than needed, so their cost-to-value ratio did not support wider implementation. Since then, we have continued to explore various systems, and in 2017, tested a system that recycles greywater from showers and refines it for use in household toilets at a model home in a Los Angeles–area KB Home community. This system costs approximately 50% less than the initial systems we tested and can fit in a closet. However, as this new system is not yet certified by the National Sanitation Foundation® (NSF), we are not offering it to the public, but hope to do so soon.
HERSH2O: In collaboration with RESNET®, we are co-leading the development of a national water-efficiency rating system for homes. Known as HERSH2O, this rating system is intended to provide a consistent standard for measuring and comparing water performance, similar to the HERS national rating system for energy efficiency. Leaders from KB Home, EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) co-chair this RESNET initiative. Based on significant progress in defining and developing the various components of the rating in 2017, we anticipate piloting the standard in at least one KB Home community this year.