Northern Capital Inc. has selected Rinnai's tankless water heater as the exclusive hot water systems provider for Southern California's first Zero Energy Home (ZEH) community.

Rinnai's tankless water heater.

Residents in Southern California now have another way to get relief from the high cost of utility bills. Northern Capital Inc. selected Rinnai's tankless water heater as the exclusive hot water systems provider for Southern California's first Zero Energy Home (ZEH) community. With certification from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), this single-family new home development named WillowCreek at the Peppertree Park master planned community is laying the foundation for what experts suggest is becoming a nationwide trend in the home construction industry. The Rinnai tankless water heater was chosen because of its energy efficiency, lifestyle benefits, practicality and financial savings to the homeowner.

As defined by the U.S. DOE, a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available renewable energy systems. A ZEH, like most houses, is connected to the utility grid but is designed and constructed to produce as much electricity as it consumes on an annual basis. At WillowCreek, a 2.4-kW photovoltaic integrated roofing system provides electricity using solar energy. WillowCreek is one of only four ZEH communities in the country and the first in Southern California to offer the ZEH package as the standard feature in every home in the community. Rinnai's tankless water heater has been specified in all four ZEH communities.

An installed Rinnai unit.

Rinnai's tankless water heater replaces the technology of hot water tanks. Traditionally, hot water tanks hold a limited amount of water and constantly heat and reheat it whether or not it is demanded. Rinnai's unit holds no water but attaches to the plumbing system and heats water as it runs through the unit's heat exchanger. When a consumer opens a hot water tap, the unit begins heating water in 3-5 seconds. Once the consumer shuts off the hot water tap, the unit shuts off, eliminating standby loss and conserving a substantial amount of energy versus a tank. In fact, Rinnai's tankless unit is up to 50% and 70% more efficient than gas and electric tanks, respectively. That translates to a monthly utility bill savings of up to 70%.

The community consists of 73 highly efficient homes ranging in price from $600,000-$750,000 and is a part of a master planned community featuring large multi-use parks and ponds. Homes range in size from 2,866 square feet to 3,621 square feet and have already been recognized for design and construction energy efficiency by the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

"This land has been in my family for years so I am determined to see its development be as environmentally responsible as possible. This is why each home design and included product must meet the highest energy conservation standards," said Duane Urquhart, president of Northern Capital Inc. "Rinnai's tankless water heater fits the bill perfectly because it provides endless hot water to our homeowners while conserving energy. These are the types of partners we are seeking out for this community."

A recessed installation of the Rinnai water heater.

ConSol, a partner of the Building America research program focusing on Zero Energy homes, helped Northern Capital Inc. to determine the energy features that would bring them to this level. ConSol will also ensure the homes exceed the government's criteria for its Energy Star® Homes program through its ComfortWise program. It was at their recommendation that tankless water heaters be part of this ZEH community.

"This type of development is the trend we see gaining interest not only in California, but throughout North America," said Rob Hammon, principal of ConSol. "Rinnai and Northern Capital Inc. are committed to meeting consumers' lifestyle needs while being sensitive to larger energy conservation needs. We are anxious to continue moving and guiding this trend."

Homes in WillowCreek will begin selling at the end of 2004, and build/sell out is estimated for two-and-a-half years.

For more information, visit Rinnai's website at