The Whole HOG: Oct/Nov 2013

Water-centric Green Design News

After a historic dry stretch here in California, the skies are full of sweet, sweet rain. Almost as full as our October/November newsletter, brimming with two months worth of water news! We check in with some familiar folks: following Team ASUNM to Irvine, California as they compete in the Solar Decathlon, and visiting a GREENheart Building installation in the Chicago suburbs that showcases the versatility of our HOG tanks in the hands of an experienced builder.

Two separate reports highlight water’s value and risks to the U.S. water system from aging infrastructure to water-guzzling energy production methods. We’re back to the world of whimsy, and clever design with Lampbrella, featured in this month’s B.U.G. Design section. Come on and dive in, the water’s fine!

Advertisements

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.”

Oct/Nov 2013: Water Reports x 2

The Value of Water

Irreplaceable, shared, innovative, clean, green: what one thing shares these five qualities? If you answered water, then head immediately to the sink for your reward. Pour yourself a glass of pure, clean, drinking water! Enjoy as you click and consider the link below:

value of waterThe Value of Water Coalition has put together an engaging and thought-provoking site full of easily accessible links to show how water encompasses these five qualities.

The coalition is made up of both public and private members of the water industry, who have come together at a time when our water infrastructure is at risk. They aim to educate the public on the importance of clean, safe, and reliable water to and from every community, and to help ensure quality water service for future generations.

—————————————————————————————-

Thirsty U.S. Energy Production on Collision Course with Climate-Imperiled Water Supply

The “Water Constraints on Energy Production” produced by the Civil Society Institute (CSI) sounds the alarm for a significant collision between  thirsty energy production practices and an increasing beleaguered U.S. water supply.

The CSI report notes: “Currently, 97 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from thermoelectric or hydroelectric generators, which rely on vast quantities of water to produce electricity … Water is increasingly becoming a limiting factor on U.S. energy production and a key obstacle to maintaining both electricity output and public health and safety. The constraints range from insufficient water supplies to meet power plants’ cooling and pollution control needs—a challenge likely to be exacerbated by climate change, population growth, and competition from other sectors—to the high costs of energy-related water contamination and thermal pollution.”

We found this report, prepared by Synapse Energy Economics for the CSI, on the American Clean Energy Agenda site. Dive in for more info..
.

Oct/Nov 2013: SHADE at the Solar Decathlon

solar decathlon big

image via Amy Vaughn/U.S. Department of Energy

 

TEAM ASUNM Brings their SHADE Home to the Solar Decathlon 2013

After scoring high marks at The Solar Decathlon 2013 (and receiving 6th place in engineering), the takeaway for Team ASUNM is, not unexpectedly, increased confidence in their green building skills and knowledge. Through designing and building their net zero-energy home SHADE, the students of Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico have a hard-won knowledge and appreciation of innovative building techniques to  prepare them for careers as green building professionals.

Thanks for taking HOG along for the ride, Team ASUNM!

After the Solar Decathlon, SHADE will travel to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where it will be showcased at the New Mexico state capitol for six months. It will then return to Phoenix, Arizona, where it will stay for three years as a part of the city’s Phoenix Renews development plan. The home will be a centrally located model for sustainable living in a developing neighborhood where other houses will be encouraged to go green.

 

Oct/Nov 2013: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

Lampbrella

lampbrella big

Lampbrella in the rain –  image via Mikhail Belyaev.

Why is it beautiful? This whimsical addition to city streets will have us singing in the rain, and twirling like Gene Kelly on the lamp posts, with one key difference: we’re not high on love, we’re dry under a strategically placed umbrella.

Why is it useful? How handy would it be to shelter under a lamp post umbrella that unfolds when triggered by the rain. It’s a foot-traffic friendly answer to a wet commute, especially in rain-soaked cities of the Pacific Northwest.

The lampbrella in the rain puts us in mind of Rene Magritte's hat-wearing "The Son of Man".

Rene Magritte’s hat-wearing “The Son of Man”.

Why is it green? Besides a tip of the hat to artist Rene Magritte and his green apples in the preliminary (and charming) advertising materials, the lampbrella will encourage street use and keep happy pedestrians “laughing at the clouds” just like the song.

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