Camden joins Issaquah, Wash. in building communities of water-friendly homes

Anyone looking for a new house that’s near a waterfront and small park and designed to use at least 20 percent less water look no further than Camden.

The city will soon be the site of the first urban, single-home community in the nation to boast an Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense certification, officials announced today.

Construction of 10 two-story homes, each with three bedrooms, will begin in the Cramer Hill section in March, according to Manny Delgado, executive director of the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, which is the project developer. The price of a house: $155,000.

The $2.6 million project has been made possible through a Neighborhood Tax Revitalization Credit grant of $750,000 and funding from PNC bank, RTC Properties, Inc. and Campbell Soup, Delgado said.

The homes — designed by Interface Studio Architects in Philadelphia in a partnership with the Cramer Hill CDC, New Jersey American Water and EPA — will be located on 24th Street, near Harrison Avenue, within walking distance of the future Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

The CDC already has plans for 10 more WaterSense-label homes to be built in next year.

Camden isn’t the first city to build dwellings that feature water-conservancy technology. Issaquah, Wash., has a 10-unit townhouse development similar to the one planned for Camden. Check it out HERE and HERE. (They have more bells and whistles than the Camden ones, but you get the idea.)

A New Jersey American Water spokeswoman said that there are also several WaterSense-certified Manhattan apartment buildings. The EPA’s site also shows a Chapel Hill, N.C., home that is WaterSense-certified.

WaterSense-certified homes feature plumbing fixtures that use at least 20 percent less water and perform at least as well as standard models.

A family of four could save 50,000 gallons of water a year, EPA Chief of drinking water and municipal infrastructure branch Anita Thompkins said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Delgado expects all 10 homes to be purchased this spring. His nonprofit corporation has a waiting list of 250 people in search of homes in Cramer Hill. Some are former Camden residents who want to move back to the city, he said.