Oct/Nov 2013: An Ingenious Array for a Green Roof in the Chicago Suburbs

GREENheart Buildings Inc. Designs a Water Capture System for a Residential Green Roof

What happens when homeowners want to feed a green-roof with harvested rainwater, but their downspouts and gutters head straight down to the ground? Well, the Alexander/Fuoss family called in Michael Ruehle of GREENheart Buildings Inc. to design an ingenious (and partially hidden) HOG system to capture rainwater and pump it back up to the rooftop garden. Take a photo tour with us!

alexander fuoss front

Eight HOG tanks have been installed at the Alexander/Fuoss residence in the suburbs of Chicago. The front of the house, though, shows no sign of the owners’ water-wise installation.

alexander fuoss backyard

It’s only at the back of the house, behind the garage, that we see the first array of four HOGs that will be used for soaker hose irrigation of the garden. The mounting bar has been extended should the family decide to add two more HOG tanks to this modular unit.

alexander fuoss detail

The backyard garden, with newly planted vegetation, holds secrets of its own. Four tanks are installed underneath the deck. Captured rainwater heads north with an assist from a gravity feed pump to water the green roof above.

alexander fuoss deck detail

The HOG tanks are under the deck and stairs. Concealed behind the green plant at right is a clear hose with a screen insert that allows the owner to see the water level in the HOGs.

alexander fuoss roof

GREENheart Buildings has made a complicated solution look simple. We’re especially impressed with the installation that feeds this rooftop garden. Water is captured from about 1/4 of the total roof area, fed to four concealed HOG tanks under the deck, and pumped back up to irrigate the three garden areas on the roof.

Highlights, for us, from the Alexander/Fuoss residential install include:

1)This ingenious install of HOG tanks includes two separate modular set-ups for one home. One system is installed horizontally, the other vertically – a nice display of what is one Rainwater HOG’s primary strengths in the rainwater tank market, a solid, elegant design that allows for multi-purpose, modular installs in tight space.

2) Basic common sense features for increased ease of use for the owners, like a manual timer pump and the screen insert for checking HOG water levels. It’s this kind of attention to detail that distinguishes a high-level installation.

For example, on his choice of pumps, Michael Ruehle explains, “A simple manual timer was chosen to allow the owner to set the pump to run for 5 to 10 minutes when the green roof actually needed irrigation, and then shut off. The owner checks the water level before running it. An automatic scheduled timer was ruled out because a) the plants might not need watering and b) it would be difficult to ensure that the pump wouldn’t run when the HOGs are dry.”

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