REAL ESTATE

Compiled by Mike Flagg, Times staff writer

It looks like a normal house from the outside. But inside there are no faucets: You push a button when you want water, and if it's hot water you want, it's been heated by the sun and stored in big tanks in the garage.

Alas, you won't find too many more like it in Orange County, and with good reason. It's one of two Minimum Energy Dwellings built in 1975 by Mission Viejo Co. with Southern California Gas Co. and what was then the federal Energy Research and Development Administration.

If you'll recall, that was an era of oil embargoes and gas shortages, and the feds were looking for a type of house that could cut energy consumption in the typical tract home by 50%.

Problem was, this house--Mission Viejo Co.'s typical Cordova model with stucco walls and red tile roof--needed $230,000 worth of extras to achieve the fuel savings. That, of course, was far too much to be practical.

Now the three-bedroom house in Mission Viejo is up for sale.

The owners want $229,500, or $500 less than all that energy-saving gear the feds stashed away inside.

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