Graywater, the recycled water collected from your sink, shower or washing machine, is becoming increasingly popular with California’s building industry. By selling new homes with built-in systems for reusing water, developers may propel the practice into the mainstream.
An Australian company, Nexus eWater, is positioned to be a key part of the transition. The company’s home graywater recycling system is the only one that has passed a key certification permitting the water it cleans to be used in toilets and on lawns under California’s building code.
The system sends dirty water gathered in a tank under a house through bubbles, filters and a zap of ultraviolet light.
Megabuilder KB Home has placed Nexus systems at 52 brand-new homes at Sea Cliff, a San Diego County development. The company won’t disclose how many have sold, though sales representatives say interest is strong.
"We want our customers to know they don’t have to do anything,” said Steve Ruffner, who runs KB Home for Southern California. “If they buy our house, they are going to save more water than a used home.”
The Nexus graywater system has also been installed at KB model homes in Lancaster and Northern California. Under a pilot partnership with the Metropolitan Water District, KB will analyze wider feasibility for in-home graywater systems, collecting water use data from new homeowners.
Each system costs between $8,000 and $10,000, an investment that can add $40 or $50 to a monthly mortgage payment. As a result, Ruffner says graywater is nowhere near standard.