January 2014: Year in Review

2013 in Review

Thank you for helping make 2013 an eventful and productive year for us at Rainwater HOG! From magazine-worthy green home renovations to a clever green roof irrigation system for a home in the Chicago suburbs, and from a school garden in New Jersey to our inclusion in TEAM ASUNM’s SHADE Home design at the Solar Decathlon 2013, we’ve had an exciting year!

HOG 2013 in review

“The Rainwater HOG makes it easy to commit to a lifestyle of rationalized use and conservation. The system boasts negligible costs, simple technology, and immediate results.
-Beverly Maloney-Fischback, CEO, Founder and Publisher of Organic Spa Magazine

The 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,  homeowner Sydney, Australia

I was looking for a system that would be able to sit as flat against the wall as possible, which could easily form and array and where the integrity of the connectors was paramount.

– Michael Ruehle, GREENHeart Builders, Inc. on why he chose HOG tanks for the Brietzke install

“This is an awesome addition to our school garden!”
– Jack Griffith, Egg Harbor City Community School (EHCCS) principal, on two Rainwater HOG tanks for the edible school garden.

Advertisements

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: 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.

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.”

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.

March/April 2013: Amsha Africa Foundation

Amsha Africa Foundation to Bring Rainwater Harvesting to Rural Kenya

Amsha Africa Foundation
Amsha is a swahili word that means “wake up”. The non-profit Amsha Africa Foundation works to raise the standard of living in rural Africa by working with registered community-based organizations.

Rainwater Harvesting in Rural Kenya
Here’s the difference something as small as one Rainwater HOG tank used to harvest rainwater  can make. Women in rural Kenya often spend as much as 3 hours a day carrying water to their homes from distant sources.

Chibanga two women carrying waterIf a woman can carry 5 gallons of water per day, then one Rainwater HOG storage tank can hold water that would have taken her over 10 days to carry.

If she spends 3 hours per day carrying this water, a storage tank near the home can save her 30 hours of water transport over 10 days. This results in 1,080 more hours a year to do other tasks, such as entrepreneurial activities, daily cooking, cleaning, child care, and schoolwork.

If she spends even half of those 1,080 hours on work that earns even $0.50 per hour of income, this extra time can result in over $250 of income for this woman and her family.

The Amsha Africa Foundation is currently fundraising to purchase and install 130 Rainwater HOG tanks for communities in the semi-arid regions of rural Kenya where one of the most significant issues, with a wide-ranging set of repercussions, is access to clean water.

Some common problems include:

No access to safe water: Residents depend on frequently interrupted central water supply systems from the government.
No adequate waste water management resulting in polluted ground water.
Lack of safe sanitation.

Amsha Africa founder Tony Abuta, a native Kenyan, lives and works in the U.S.A. It was a combination of his childhood experiences and return visits to Africa and other developing countries that inspired him to found Amsha. The organization aims to use common-sense, site-specific solutions to help lift people out of poverty with dignity.

One hundred thirty Rainwater HOGs tanks would make over 6,760 gallons of water available to rural communities in Kenya. Here’s how you can help.

March/April 2013: Ask Dr. HOG

Quote

Ask Dr. HOG About Water and Earthquakes: Water Tanks in Seismically Active Zones

Dr. HOG recently visited a school in Northern California that wants to install a large, round 1,500 gallon tank on a hill above the playground for decent gravity feed. They felt that steel was a sturdy, durable choice. What’s wrong with this scenario?

The Problem
There’s a reason many steel tank manufacturers do not sell in California – and its all about rock ‘n roll. Well, actually its slip ‘n slide as the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate grind together. When the ground moves abruptly under a large or medium body of water contained in a tank the top section of water sloshes, and the bottom section moves with the tank body, effectively creating some very powerful shear.  A riveted tank might just pop its rivets, pouring around 6 tons of water down onto the playground.  A welded tank attached to a stiff foundation could shear in the middle.

The Solution
The volume the school wants to store is not a viable project for Rainwater HOGs, so I recommended daisy chaining two 660-gallon round Bushman tanks with a secondary fastening system to the ground, and allowing room for an additional tank when funding became available.  Daisy-chaining smaller tanks has a number of advantages to the monolith proposed:

bushman tank 660 gallons big1. It acts as a baffle to prevent the water mass gaining too much momentum in a seismic event, giving the system more chance of surviving an earthquake without spilling.
2. It facilitates a progressive installation as funds become available.
3. It prevents large scale failure – in the event that a tank fails (this is known to happen with some thinner walled tanks, although a Bushman quality tank means that it probably won’t), there is still functional storage in place.
4. It is less expensive and a more residential-scale installation of compacted gravel vs. the large scale concrete or other substrate that a big tank requires.

Click here for real time earthquake monitoring. And click here for more answers from Dr. HOG.