I was surfing the Internet for data that I could use for one of my columns when I wandered onto a kind of eco-home blog site. I probably wouldn’t have given it much attention, but it mentioned the big homebuilder, Pulte Homes Corp., was constructing water-efficient homes in Las Vegas.

I know that scintillating subject might put you all right to sleep, but I live in Arizona and those kinds of things interest me. I mean, as I drive around the Phoenix metro area and I see (or I did at one time) new neighborhoods going up, I always wonder if builders are just erecting the same old crap or whether they’ve taken the time to design a home that fits the desert’s harsh, arid environment.

As it turned out, Pulte was building just 20 homes as part of an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored WaterSmart home study, but that was OK because it told me the government was taking an interest in water-efficient construction and that a homebuilder was also leaning in this direction.

Supposedly, the information gleaned from monitoring these homes would help set a benchmark of how newer, high-efficiency homes with water-saving features contrast with standard homes built over the past decade.

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