The Whole HOG: Aug/Sept 2013

Water-centric Green Design News

We’re hitting the books this September with a filled-to-the-brim back to school edition of The Whole HOG. Three stand-out school installations, from Nundah State School, the Dalton School, and Omaha North High School, demonstrate how valuable HOG tanks can be in the classroom – indoors or outdoors.

We’re catching up with Team ASUNM as they prepare their SHADE home to compete in the Solar Decathlon 2013. They’re bringing six HOG tanks with them. And in our B.U.G. Design section, we take a closer look at the winning Illawarra Flame House (from an Australian team) in the China 2013 Solar Decathlon. Fellow Aussies and HOG founders, Sally and Simon Dominguez, say “Good on you, mates!”

Speaking of green student design competitions, registration for the 2013 Campus Rainworks Challenge has begun! Check out our HOG giveaway for competing student teams.

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Aug/Sept 2013: Omaha North High School

Omaha North High School  II  Omaha, Nebraska II  USA

The high school students at Omaha North installed their HOGs themselves, learning the practicalities of rainwater catchment and reuse, and irrigating their school garden.

Omaha HS wedge

“The Rainwater HOGs fit perfectly,” said Lee Kallstrom, Engineering Technologies Department at the time of the installation. Two years later he reports, “I’m still extremely happy with your product.”

Year of Install: 2011

Installation Stats Omaha North magnet high school built a LEED silver four-story addition and a two-story greenhouse. Two HOG tanks are in the wedge between the new and old building collecting rainwater for landscape irrigation, and one waters plants in the greenhouse. “I can water the entire place in 5 minutes when I turn the HOG on,” says Lee Kallstrom from the Engineering Technologies department.

Science, engineering and technology are the focus at Omaha North magnet high school in suburban Omaha, Nebraska. With students doing the hands-on installation themselves, they learn practical construction techniques alongside the sustainability principles taught in the technical curriculum and illustrated by the building and greenhouse.

Where is it now? The school, which earned a silver certification for its sustainable addition, is the first in Nebraska to be certified under the LEED for Schools system rating.

By building green, Omaha North H.S. reduced its energy use by 20% and its potable water consumption (with low-flow sinks, dual-flush toilets, and rainwater tanks) by 43%.

In the winter of 2012, “the wedge” platform gave way in -20ºF temperatures. Students rebuilt in the spring (at a height of 24 inches to allow the water to drain completely from the tanks) and took the extra security measure of strapping the two HOG tanks to the building.

Aug/Sept 2013: Rainlab at Dalton School

Rainlab at Dalton School  II  Manhattan, New York  II  USA

Who needs a play pool when you can mount running water on a wall?!  In an innovative way to integrate motor skills, learning and pure play, HOGs on the roof spill water down into a maze of pipes and valves that delights all ages.

dalton waterwall

“For kids this age, it’s all about interactivity and exploration,” says Will Hopkins, the Dalton School Science Department chairman.

Year of Install: 2012

Installation Stats: The interactive rooftop science classroom at Manhattan prep school for First Program students (grades K-3) has two orange HOGs installed horizontally to capture rainwater from an adjacent roof.

HOG Skills: The stormwater moves down the wall through a series of pipes, paddles and wheels and collects in removable buckets used to water plants. When it rains, the wheels and beams move on their own, even when the tank valves are shut off. Planters, a cold frame, a compost bin, and solar panels complete the 16-foot square rooftop “RainLab.”

Where is it now? Science lessons in the rooftop classroom are an interactive experience for young students. With the water wall demonstrating stormwater capture, planters, solar panels, and wind and weather elements, the small Dalton School rooftop is a kid-friendly introduction to sustainable practices. Liz Pulver, landscape architect from Town and Garden Ltd. and designer of the Rainlab, does periodic maintenance on the structure to ensure it’s continued smooth running.

Aug/Sept 2013: Nundah State School

 Nundah State School  II  Brisbane, Queensland  II  Australia

104 HOGs in the school colors hold 5,700 gallons for irrigation, toilet flush…and teach students about gravity and water pressure!

nundah behind the trees

Yellow and black HOGs mounted on the library peek out from behind the foliage at Nundah State School.

Year of Install: 2007

Installation Stats: 114 HOGS are grouped around the library building to capture water from each downspout.  Made to order in the school colors of yellow and black, the tanks are installed at different elevations on different sides of the building.

Annual Water Capture: 5,700 gallons

HOG Skills: The different elevations demonstrate how a gravity feed system affects water pressure (higher elevation + full tank =  maximum pressure). The Nundah library uses ultra-low-flush Caroma toilets and flushing these with HOGS saves the school more than 28,000 gallons of water per year.

Where is it Now?
Six years later, our modular rainwater catchment system continues to capture rainwater, flush toilets, and teach the next wave of students.

Aug/Sept 2013: SHADE brings Sustainability to Desert Living

TEAM ASUNM is counting down the days until the Solar Decathlon 2013 begins. With less than  three weeks to go, they have filmed a walk-through before preparing to take apart the SHADE home. It will be shipped to Irvine, California and re-configured on site at Orange County Great Park for the competition.

Team ASUNM av video

Walk through the SHADE house with Team ASUNM.

The team has looked at the relationship of plants in the Sonoran desert for inspiration – much as the Chinese Decathlon winners from Australia looked to their native environment to inspire the Illawarra Flame House.

Watch the video for more details on SHADE’s design philosophy inspired by the Saguarro cactus and mesquite tree, their unique PV (solar) canopy and an unconventional cooling system that involves a thermal storage unit and a radiant ceiling. Bonus – find HOG on the scene!

Where will SHADE go once the competition is over? It will become a model sustainable home for an urban reclamation project in Phoenix called Phx Renews.

Aug/Sept 2013: Campus Rainworks Challenge

The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced the second annual Campus Rainworks Challenge.

campus rainworks winner

The Illinois Institute of Technology won first prize for the small institution category in 2012. Click to see award-winning designs from last year’s contest.

The contest has been expanded to include Master Plan and Site Design categories, but the premise remains: college and university students are invited to “design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.”

Cash prizes are included, along with the opportunity for Site Design winners to apply for grant funding for a demonstration project. Registration opens September 9 and closes October 7, 2013.

Bring HOG to Your School! Our offer to participating student teams: incorporate Rainwater HOG tanks into a winning entry, and we will give you three HOG tanks.

Aug/Sept 2013: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

                         Australia Wins 2013 Solar Decathlon China

This August, the University of Wollongong in Australia took home first place in the China Solar Decathlon 2013 with their Illawara Flame House.

illawarra flame house

The Illawara Flame House designed by UOW Australia. Image via Inhabitat.

Co-hosted by the US Department of Energy, and the National Energy Administration China, this was the inaugural Solar Decathlon on Asian soil.  Much as American and European competitions do, the China 2013 competition challenges university teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

Why is it beautiful? Richard King, from the US Department of Energy, calls the victory of the first ever retrofitted home to enter the competition “remarkable.” He commended the Illawara Flame as a  “modern, very energy efficient house that won the praise of everyone who [went] into it.” The Australian team was inspired by their native Illawara Flame Tree’s spring time renewal and transformation – a metaphor for their radical approach to refurbishing an existing home rather than creating a brand new building.

Why is it useful? “It all began with the idea of retrofit,” Team UOW explain in their walk-through video of the Illawara Flame home, which has been designed for an older couple whose children have left home. The home design emphasizes water efficiency, solar energy harvesting, passive design and advanced ventilation systems.

Three bedrooms have been converted into two, with a large open space for the dining room and living room. Multiple windows promote flow between indoor and outdoor space.

Why is it green? With 8 million homes in Australia that account for 13% of carbon dioxide emissions, refurbishing existing ‘fibro’ homes to a net zero energy standard upcycles homes for the next generation. It also eliminates the waste of tearing down existing buildings.

“The Illawarra Flame is perfect for clients looking to downsize while ensuring a clean energy future for their grandchildren,” explains Team UOW. The jurors thought so too, and Australians took home first prize!

Want more info on a ‘fibro’ house and exactly how it fits into the Australian landscape? Check out this informative overview from Matt Hickman at Mother Nature Network.

Visit Sally’s Blog for more B.U.G. Designs.