June 2013: Making Connections at the Brietzke Residence

Greenheart Introduces HOG to New Friends in Chicago

The streets of Oak Park, Illinois, a village adjacent to Chicago’s west side, have been witness to architectural legends. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the first twenty years of practice in his Oak Park Home and Studio.

That spirit of architectural innovation and a commitment to sustainability continues in Oak Park today. One residence, belonging to the Brietzke family, has recently installed a rainwater harvesting system that seamlessly marries high and low in the rainwater harvesting market.

Greenheart Building HOG

image via Greenheart Buildings, Inc.

“I was looking for a system that would be able to sit as flat against the wall as possible, which could easily form an array, ” says Michael Ruehle of Greenheart Buildings, Inc. who oversaw the installation.

Two Rainwater HOG tanks were selected by Ruehle to complement the six 55-gallon plastic barrels already in place. He installed the system to share water across each unit equally.

For nine months out of the year – from March through November – the harvested rainwater will water the garden and feed an as-yet-to-be-installed backyard pond.  Ruehle estimates that the capacity – 440 gallons – of the eight-unit system is enough to capture 100 percent of the average rainfall, or about 15,000 gallons per year.

“I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work,” said Frank Lloyd Wright. The Brietzkes need only look to their backyard to hear an echo of the renowned architect’s words.

Greenheart connector1

image via Greenheart Buildings, Inc.

Greenheart connector2

image via Greenheart Buildings, Inc.

Close up on Connectors

“The integrity of the connectors was paramount,” Ruehle explains.  “I have had too many experiences with poorly-installed fittings on plastic barrels.”

June 2013: Ian Goff testimonial

Back to Our Roots: A Testimonial

Goff aerial view

We’re plumbing the archives for lost gems. Ian Goff was one of Rainwater HOG’s very first clients in Australia. Here’s what he has to say:




Goff side viewThe HOGs are a great product and a very clever design. With only a narrow gap along the side of my house which would have otherwise been unable, the installation of the tanks there has been of real benefit. The post-sale care and service of the HOG team has been fantastic and I could not be happier with this product.

– Ian Goff
Sydney, Australia

June 2013: Water News Round-up

Andrew Revkin’s New York Times blog, Dot Earth, provides simple analysis for better understanding President Obama’s newly revealed strategies to counteract climate change. Learn more about the climate action plan here (including “a suite of new steps to cut vulnerability to climate and coastal hazards”).

Which brings us to New York City, post Hurricane Sandy, where, this June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a detailed $20 billion, 438-page proposal for reconstruction. Fortifying infrastructure, renovating buildings and defending the shore top the ambitious list.

Whether it’s coastal hazards or access for urban or agricultural use, location is an issue where water is concerned. Eastern and Western states have different policies governing water rights; both are contested. The water wars article from NPR discusses issues swirling around the Klamath River in Oregon and the Chattahoochee River that flows through Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

June 2013: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

Water-Gifting Billboard
Lima, Peru

A billboard that dispenses clean, free drinking water in a desert city of 8 million provides a bright sparkle of ingenuity in a thirsty world.

water billboard

image via UTEC

Why is it beautiful? This billboard puts its words into action. It advertises the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC), which teaches a sustainable focus in engineering. The billboard produces 100 liters of purified water collected from the humidity-laden air each day. A  faucet at the base of the billboard dispenses clean, free water to the citizens of Lima.

Why is it useful? Peru’s capital, Lima, is the world’s second largest city located in a desert (after Cairo). Its residents contend with the heat and humidity of an equatorial climate, limited rainfall, and a documented lack of access to safe drinking water.

Add to the equation a waste problem in the form of 200 million plastic bottles produced monthly to quench the thirst of the city’s inhabitants and visitors.

Mayo DraftFCB, the ad agency behind the billboard, puts ‘engineering into action’ to promote education, increase access to clean drinking water and decrease pollution from plastic bottles. No small measure.

Why is it green? The UTEC billboard, installed next to a busy highway, represents an engineering feat on its own: it houses five machines that operate in similar ways to a dehumidifier. But these ‘dehumidifiers’ go further than simply removing water from the air. The water is filtered and transformed into clean, drinking water – that essential substance so important to human life. It’s multi-use rainwater harvesting for the people.

Read more about the water-gifting billboard at Kalev.com.

Check out Sally’s blog for more B.U.G. Designs.

+ Cardboard Bicycle on the Go

cardboard bicycleFundraising for Izhar Gafni’s cardboard bicycle, previously featured here, has begun!

Click here to learn more about supporting Gafni’s
revolutionary new mode of transportation.