Nearly one thousand people move to Florida every day. That population growth puts significant demand on the region’s water supply. To help meet these water supply needs, local governments, water managers, builders and developers are working cooperatively through the Florida Water Star℠ (FWS) program. Southwest Florida Water Management District Lead Communications Coordinator Robin Grantham has details about this innovative program.
Q: What is Florida Water Star?
A: The Florida Water Star (FWS) program is a voluntary certification program for new residential and commercial construction that meet specific water-efficiency criteria. The program encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes, as well as water quality benefits from best management practices in landscapes. An average Florida Water Star homeowner can save up to $530 on annual utility bills and up to 48,000 gallons of water each year.
Q: What are the benefits of water efficiency?
A: Saving water saves energy. It takes a considerable amount of energy to deliver and treat the water we use every day. For example, letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours. Using water more efficiently helps maintain water supplies, protecting human health and the environment. Since Florida Water Star’s launch in 2006, local governments and utilities have also relied on the Florida Water Star program to implement consistent language related to water-efficiency in their building codes and to offer financial incentives to builders for achieving FWS certification.
Q: How does purchasing a Florida Water Star-certified home benefit a new homeowner?
A: Homeowners who purchase a Florida Water Star home receive a better investment by saving an estimated $530 on annual utility bills compared to a typical home. Over time, these savings will only grow as water rates increase. In addition, Florida Water Star homes have undergone more inspections than typical homes, ensuring peace of mind through the selection of the most water-efficient features and landscape designs that offer better performance and superior quality. Most importantly, compared to a typical home, the Florida Water Star-certified home reduces Florida’s water use and improves the quality of our springs, rivers, lakes and gulf.
Q: Why should Florida builders participate in Florida Water Star?
A: Florida Water Star offers an affordable, achievable certification for builders to improve water efficiency in newly constructed residential homes, communities and commercial developments. Builders benefit from the option of hiring an FWS Irrigation or Landscape Accredited Professional (AP). In partnership with the Florida Nursery and Landscape Association, the FWS AP program has trained more than a thousand professionals from the landscape and irrigation industry to be better prepared to design and install water-efficient landscapes and irrigation systems. In addition, builders’ realtor staff receive training on selling the benefits and features of an FWS-certified home to their customers. New FWS-certified homeowners receive plaques and documentation to help increase the value of their home.
Q: Why does the District support Florida Water Star?
A: The Florida Water Star program provides a plan based on best management practices that encourages and promotes decisions about water use that will help sustain the area’s water resources for years to come. For more information about Florida Water Star, please visit FloridaWaterStar.com.
Lead Communications Coordinator
As Lead Communications Coordinator, Robin oversees the Florida Water Star program, including promoting and educating stakeholders about Florida Water Star, conducting certifications, sitting on the Florida Water Star Technical Advisory Committee and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Landscape Irrigation Committee. Robin has 14 years of experience working at the District and holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of South Florida.