Centex Homes Arizona Division Wednesday announced a deal with Rinnai Corporation that will put tankless, gas-fired water heaters from Rinnai Corporation in the majority of new homes in the Phoenix metro area.

"All of our homes are Energy Star certified," said Roger Gannon, senior vice president of operations for Centex Arizona, citing the company's use of high-efficiency HVAC systems, high-R-value insulation and radiant barriers. "We're dedicated here to using this as a differentiating point instead of doing what builders have traditionally done all along. We're at a time in our industry when builders are cutting features."

The company will be installing Rinnai's R85E-2523W tankless, natural-gas fired water heaters with a capacity of 8.5 gallons per minute in its larger homes and R42E units, which puts out 4.2 gallons per minute, in homes or casitas with one bath. The heaters get water up to temperature in a matter of seconds and provide a virtually unlimited flow. SEE RINNAI TANKLESS WATER HEATERS HERE

"It's up to 50% more efficient," said Gannon. The company claims that 25 cents of every energy dollar spent by U.S. households is used by conventional hot water production.

The units, according to Scott Masters, construction services manager for Centex Arizona, not only heat water on demand, but they actually sense demand. "It has the capacity to understand the flow rate," said Masters. This means that if only a sink is calling for hot water, the units will heat at a rate suitable for that consumption. As demand increases, so does the energy is applied to heating.

According to Masters, the cost differential between conventional hot water systems and the Rinnai systems is between $500 and $700 per home. The units, he said, will be installed outside, in a panel recessed into a wall. This will allow for outside venting.

Gannon said Centex worked with Rinnai in the past, but "they were really willing to step up?they were really willing to partner with us." Rinnai agreed to modify the cabinets that enclose the heating systems in order to meet Centex Arizona's specifications.

The Energy Star certification program, administered by U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection, gives Centex a leg up in selling to environmentally conscious consumers. "The level of awareness is much higher," said Gannon. "We do have people who ask about it."

Effective immediately, the Rinnai tankless systems are standard product offerings in 15 of 19 local Centex communities. These include Stargazer, Reflection and Brookhaven at Canyon Trails, Goodyear, AZ; Bridle Crossing, Mesquite Manor and Kensington at Trailside Point, Laveen, AZ; Magnolia and Hickory at Glennwilde Groves, Maricopa, AZ; Parkview Square at Verrado, Buckeye, AZ; Fairways, Gallery and Masters at Johnson Ranch, Queen Creek, AZ; The Preserve at Cibola Vista, Peoria, AZ; and Serenade and Harmony at Desert Oasis, Surprise, AZ.

Centex Arizona is based in Scottsdale.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Phoenix, AZ.