The Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition this fall was focused on renewable energy. But BuilderOnline reports that one Texas team chose to build a house that took resource conservation a step further. The University of Texas at Austin’s team constructed a home that is net zero usage for energy as well as water.
Called NexusHaus, the dwelling is one of the country's first water-independent dwellings. The design could have major ramifications for home builders in drought-prone areas like the High Plains. The house includes a dishwasher that uses only 4 gallons of water per cycle and a clothes washer that uses 9.5 gallons. Water for the bathroom sink, shower, and clothes washer is filtered and re-used in a drip irrigation system. This system provides up to 75 gallons a day for maintaining the landscaping. The home will also capture enough rainwater to supply all of its drinking water needs.