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.

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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

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.

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: 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!

The Whole HOG: March/April 2013

“I think when we really see each other, we want to help each other.”
– Amanda Palmer, musician

In his book Imagine: How Creativity Works Jonah Lehrer examines the intricacies of how the human mind creates, from ‘a ha’ moments of epiphany to the way centralized bathrooms help foster innovation in the business environment. Starting with the neural pathways of the brain, and ranging from cultural and historical moments of genius to the benefits of urban friction in modern cities, Lehrer is a nimble guide down the oft-divergent path of creativity.

ImagineImagine has circulated the headquarters of our small green business, where we know from experience that creativity is fostered by hard work, outsider thinking and social exchange. We found Lehrer’s book to be useful, immensely readable, and even inspirational.  (Yep, we heard about the debacle of the fake Bob Dylan quote. We still recommend the book. )

In a footnote, Lehrer remarks, “Architecture has real cognitive consequence.” We think Thomas Hardwick’s Seed Cathedral is an example of consciousness-shifting architecture worth seeing.

Speaking of, this month we’re substituting a B.U.G. Design feature – our monthly creative sustenance – for a timely Ask Dr. HOG feature. Earthquake-prone California and large steel water tanks don’t mix, especially on the playground. Find out why from architect Sally Dominguez, HOG inventor who moonlights as our resident Dr. HOG.

Sally has recently been named ambassador to the humanitarian nonprofit Engineers Without Borders Australia. If you’re in California the first weekend of June, you can catch her making a case for rainwater harvesting – “Good for the plants, good for the planet,” she says – at the Marin Home and Garden Expo.

The ever-expanding Austin musical festival that is South by Southwest (SXSW) had the web (and us too) all abuzz this March. One musician’s name kept surfacing, in part because of a recent TED talk she gave called “The Art of Asking.” Amanda Palmer and her band, Grand Theft Orchestra, raised an unprecedented amount of money through KickStarter for a new album.

Art of AskingFearless, bold, and a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of a performer, Amanda uses her outsider status – Lehrer makes the case that this is an important perspective for looking at a problem from a new angle – to reframe the music-industry question, “How do you make people pay for your music?”

Her paradigm-shifting answer: “I didn’t make them. I asked them, and through the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you.”

“Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing,” T.S. Eliot wrote in an introduction to Dante’s Inferno. Lehrer opens Imagine with this quote and proceeds to demonstrate with example after example that the best way of coming up with something from nothing – the definition of creative problem solving – is to make unexpected connections across diverse fields of knowledge.

It is as a connector that Amanda Palmer envisions a musician at her most successful. She says, “For most of human history, musicians, artists, they’ve been part of their community, connectors and openers, not untouchable stars.” To get a sense of her ability to connect in action, check out how she crowdsourced a SXSW showcase and panel in under 24 hours.

We strive to connect-the-dots in unexpected ways and bring new perspectives to you in The Whole HOG.  The Amsha Africa Foundation’s project to bring rainwater harvesting to rural Kenya makes us think about the value of water differently. Keep reading to find out more.