The Whole HOG: May 2013

Water-centric Green Design News

“One winner for versatility and storage capacity is the Rainwater HOG…rainwater storage…that can sit flat under a deck or stand up against the side of a building.” – Tricia Edgars, Kalev.com

Rainwater HOG is a standout in The Rain Barrel, Reinvented section of Tricia Edgars’ new overview of revolutionary ways to store rainwater on Kalev.com. We’re in good company with friends like RainSaucers, the stand alone water funnel that frees water collection from the downspout.

“Young people and farmers starved for jobs – and land starved for water – were a prescription for revolution,” writes Thomas Friedman in his recent New York Times op-ed about Syria. We generally use the word ‘revolution’ much more lightly than Friedman, but we wanted to share his take on fallout from the Arab Spring in “Without Water, Revolution.”

Although our focus is on rainwater primarily for home or school use – be it greywater reuse, toilet flush, landscape irrigation, or simply watering flowers on the patio- sometimes it’s instructive to zoom out and look at water in a global context.  Water is a diminishing resource and access to water is an emerging global issue that has social, economic, and political repercussions worldwide.  Here’s Friedman again:

“This Syria disaster is like a superstorm. It’s what happens when an extreme weather event, the worst drought in Syria’s modern history, combines with a fast-growing population and a repressive and corrupt regime and unleashes extreme sectarian and religious passions, fueled by money from outside powers…” This is worth a read!

This May, we’re not holding back with news and events: Sally Dominguez to present at the Marin Home & Garden Expo, an ARCSA rainwater catchment survey,  a NY-ASLA presentation on Reimagining School Grounds; case studies: Egg Harbor City Community School brings HOGs to an edible classroom; and, last but not least, our B.U.G. Design feature: Mill Valley Green Home.

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May 2013: Marin Home and Garden Expo

Sneak Peek: Rainwater Harvesting with Sally Dominguez

We’re taking a sneak peek at material from Sally’s upcoming talk on innovative rainwater harvesting at the Marin Home & Garden Expo.  Don’t expect a humdrum how-to with barrels and HOGs; Sally has combed the world for some of the most innovative planting, plant filtering, rain collection and reuse solutions, from PET bottle downspouts in the slums of India to giant ceramic inverted umbrellas in Singapore.PetalDrops small

downspout smallmailbox smallHere is just a drop of what Sally has in store for her presentation: check out the Petal rain-collecting drink bottle attachment, downspouts as plant-filtered art installations, and an edgy rain-collecting planted mailbox. Click on each picture for more information.
Marin Home & Garden Expo
Rainwater Harvesting with Sally Dominguez

Saturday, June 1st – 3 pm
Marin Center Fairgrounds
San Rafael, CA

May 2013: ARCSA Survey

ARCSA surveyThe American Rainwater Catchment Association (ARCSA) is conducting the first industry-wide survey since 1992.  If you’re involved in the rainwater catchment business, we encourage you to participate.

The 2013 North American Rainwater Catchment System Survey closes May 31st. Don’t miss this chance to add your voice to a long overdue system-wide assessment!

May 2013: Egg Harbor City Community School

              New Jersey School Brings HOGs to an Edible Classroom

This is an awesome addition to our school garden!” exclaims Egg Harbor City Community School (EHCCS) principal Jack Griffith about the recent installation of two Rainwater HOG tanks.

EHCCS garden

image via Katie Sementa

Two 50 gallon tanks were installed in March 2013 to capture rainwater for EHCCS’s “edible classroom” – a school garden that students have filled with snow peas, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, beets, and peppers. One of the special education classes supplemented the veggies with a herb garden of basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme that they maintain weekly.

Katie Sementa, Project Director of the 21st Century Community Learning Center – a federally funded program that partners with EHCCS to provide students in low income areas with before and after school care – was instrumental in bringing rainwater harvesting to the school.

She applied for and won a  $1,000 Water Works Grant from the Atlantic Care Foundation for the 4th through 8th graders attending EHCCS.

She explains, “I researched many different options for our school to conserve water and teach the children the importance of water harvesting.  While researching, I came across Rainwater HOG and thought it was an ideal system for our school district and our after school program.”

EHCCS HOGs

image via Katie Sementa

The students, who are already putting the HOGs to work watering their garden with rainwater, will maintain a record of how many gallons the two tanks collect in the eight months out of a year  (from April through early November) that they are in use.

Tree stump seats and tables for outdoor classroom accessibility will be arriving in time for garden bloom and harvest to spruce up an edible classroom that teaches health, wellness, and sustainability. More pictures to come!

May 2013: Reimagining School Grounds

Reimagining School Grounds in New York City

Interested in greening your schoolyard? Take a jaunt on down from New Jersey to NYC for the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ presentation on bringing gardens to schools called Reimagining School Grounds.

Happening tomorrow!
May 29, 2013
6:30 – 8 pm at
The Hort in New York, New York

with Sharon Damson, Berkeley, California-based author of Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation
and Mary Alice Lee, Director of the NYC Playgrounds Program for the Trust for Public Land.

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

                                                Mill Valley Green Home

“To me it’s the story of place, either real or desired, that inspires the architecture. The context of the site, the environment – natural or man made – is the origin of the design evolution,” explains architect Geoff Butler of his design process.

mill valley green homeWe’re revisiting his Mill Valley Green Home one year after it’s lush, photo-filled debut in San Francisco Magazine, with more gorgeous pictures from the synonymously named web site.

Why is it beautiful? Geoff Butler didn’t have to look far for inspiration when designing the Mill Valley Green Home, a showpiece of sustainability located in his hometown. The home incorporates staples of California living – skylights, outdoor showers, easy transitions between indoor and outdoor space – with energy efficient details like radiant heating, a solar ready system, and an electric car charging outlet in the garage.

Why is it useful? The Mill Valley Green Home is leading by example with a cutting edge, three-tiered home design that includes the latest in luxury green features in California’s Bay Area. LEED Platinum certification is pending. And although in a rarefied price range, this luxury home incorporates green solutions that can be introduced on a smaller scale to the mid-range market.

mill valley hogsWhy is it green? “Bottom line energy savings, water reuse and drought tolerant landscaping,” are three eco-friendly features that Geoff Butler readily identifies in the Mill Valley Green Home. Nineteen Rainwater HOG provide 1,000 gallons of rain and grey water storage for landscape irrigation and toilet flush. Even in the construction of the home – aimed to show that green does not have compromise in quality or cost – more than 50% of the wood used was recycled from the original home.

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