March/April 2013: Marin Home and Garden Expo


Simple Sustainable DIY Rainwater Harvesting with Sally Dominguez
Sunday, June 2nd at 1 pm, Marin Center Fairgrounds,  San Rafael, CA

Rainwater HOG’s own Sally Dominguez, multi award-winning sustainable designer and educator, will present Simple, Sustainable DIY Rainwater Harvesting at the 2013 Marin Home and Garden Expo. Marin GardenShe looks to all corners of the globe for ways to use rainwater on the garden and inside the home. From selecting BPA-free vessels and calculating rainwater storage potential to the effective filtration of roof water and even using rainwater to flush toilets and wash laundry, Sally draws on her experience designing for Australia and for the Bay Area to guide you to the best sustainable choices for rainwater re-use.

June 2012: HOG Giveaway at the Sonoma-Marin Fair

The City of Petaluma will be giving away a 3-HOG tank system at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

From Wednesday, June 20 through Sunday, June 24
at the Petaluma Fairgrounds (click for directions)

Check out the City of Petaluma exhibit showing off ways to conserve water inside and   outside of the home. Sign up for a free Water-Wise HouseCall and be entered to win.


And coming soon, more details on the 10-HOG installation for the City of Petaluma.

May 2012: Daly School Garden – Learning by Example

Elementary school kids in Port Washington, New York are in for a spring treat. Two rainwater HOG tanks were installed this May to water the John J. Daly Elementary School’s edible garden tended by students in third through fifth grade.

“It is a great upgrade for our garden and, most importantly, our kids,” said Principal Drew Graves.

The four-year-old garden is one of five school gardens in the Port Washington District, but it is the only one harvesting rainwater.

HOG tanks were landscape designer Mark Scaramucci of Permascape Designs‘ first choice for the Daly School rainwater catchment system. He needed 100 gallons of water storage to fit into a slim space, and the modular design of the HOGs made it possible for him to install two tanks, vertically, side by side. The green-minded Port Washington Facilities Director upcycled old wooden bleachers from the high school for the structure housing the tanks.
Mindy Germain is involved with sustainable projects, including the Daly School garden, in the area as Executive Director for Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington and co-chair of the Daly Green Committee.  She says, “I liked [the HOG tank] not only for its technical purpose, but also for its innovative design that I thought the kids would connect with. At that age the “cool factor” weighs in on personal connection.”

Mark also notes that the HOG tanks are made of food-grade material, “so there are no worries about watering food-producing gardens.” The kids are growing lettuce, kale, radishes, string beans, and herbs in their garden. They learn organic gardening, water conservation, and composting. The two HOGs harvest approximately 175 gallons of water annually. Not to mention the kids connect with nature and get a tasty introduction to eating locally.

As Mindy says, “Kids learn that eating healthy from the garden can be delicious.”

May 2012: San Francisco Magazine – The Trickle-Up Effect

Architect Geoffrey Butler’s LEED Platinum home design features state-of-the-art water reuse

Sausalito-based architect Geoffrey Butler’s $2.9 million Marin spec home brings up-to-the-moment architectural design to a water-wise home.

©Philip Harvey

Profiled in the June 2012 design issue of San Francisco Magazine, the Geoffrey Butler home, located in Mill Valley, saves up to 61,000 gallons of water per year.

A 4-HOG installation (hidden under the deck) converts showers into lawn water, and an additional 15 HOG tanks are used to flush the toilet in the 5-person home for up to 8 months out of the year.
How does the HOG modular rainwater catchment system work in this Mill Valley home?

©Philip Harvey

Toilet Flush                                                 Gray Water System
rainwater                                                   shower and bathtub water
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
15 HOGS behind garage                              4 HOGS under deck
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
toilets                                                                      garden

Check out the magazine in print if you’re in the San Francisco area or see it online here (we’re on page 72-73).

January 2012: HOGs in Winter

Is it snowing where you are? It is in Arlington, MA. We checked in with Frank Koll of GreenScapes Lawn and Garden Services, an irrigation contractor and  Rainwater HOG distributor. New England-based (and snow-tested) Frank gave us the lowdown on preparing water catchment systems for winter, East Coast style.

Essential for making your HOGs–and all water capture containers–winter-ready is to drain them of water before it freezes. Frozen water can make HOG tanks bulge, although unlike other rainwater tanks they won’t crack or splinter.

Frank offers his clients an annual maintenance program. This season he winterized 16 HOGs. Who knew HOGs could hibernate?

Frank Koll of GreenScapes stores his demonstration HOG tanks outside, a testament to  their weather-proof durability. Look closely to find them camouflaged in snow above. The downspout has been diverted to lead the gutter run-off at least 10 feet from the house foundation. Come summer, Frank will attach the tanks to the downspout and water his backyard edible garden with rainwater.

“Rainwater HOG tanks are a great solution for urban clients who have small spaces for water capture,” says Frank, identifying the small footprint and modular design of the tanks as additional draws for his East Coast clients.

New England weather is infamously fickle – variations can be extreme even within one season. At GreenScapes, the philosophy is to keep water cycling systematically through the landscape. Clients receive a seasonal audit to check in with the health of their lawns, gardens and irrigation systems. Irrigation and rainwater storage equipment that maximize the use of harvested rainwater for each site are implemented and maintained, along with overflow management and winter preparedness strategies.

“Winterization is a component of issues faced in the Northeast, Northwest, the Midwest, and Canada,” says Frank. Many of his clients have HOG tanks on balconies to water gardens. He prepared these HOG systems for winter simply by draining them using gravitational force. For underground HOG installations, he used an air compressor with 30 to 40 psi to remove remaining water. He uses this same forced air method (at a higher psi) for traditional in-ground systems.

Other rain barrels or units required different approaches. Wooden rain barrels, including whiskey barrels, must be relocated indoors for winter storage.  Not the HOGs, which were left outside with the diverters or downspouts redirected.

Early in the establishment of GreenScapes Lawn and Garden Services, Frank recognized that water management would be a cornerstone of his organic lawn approach. “Irrigation methods need to be dynamically managed so that plants stay healthy and water usage is optimized,” he explains.

Further questions about winterizing your HOG tanks? E-mail us at

B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

October 2011

2011 Solar Decathlon
Maryland University’s “WaterShed”

Our in-house design guru, Sally Dominguez writes, “Even before we started making HOGS in the USA, we had our first Solar Decathlon customers when Cornell University bought HOGs for their 2007 Decathlon entry. Teams apply to the US Department of Energy with their proposals for a zero energy house. Grants are given to the top 19 entries to enable their teams to realize the designs in Washington DC. It’s a terrific initiative to demonstrate new and proven sustainable energy and water management strategies. This year’s winner, Maryland University’s “WaterShed” is near to our hearts for its comprehensive water collection and reuse strategies. See the engineering behind the “WaterShed” here.

©Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat
Maryland University’s “WaterShed” wins the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Why is it beautiful? “Inspired by the rich, complex ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” the architecture distills its parts into an elegantly simple language. It’s a house that delivers beautiful design with its impressive sustainability achievements.

Why is it useful? The use of vegetation to filter wastewater is terrific but nothing beats the soon-to-be-patented “liquid desiccant waterfalls for humidity control” – a brilliant piece of biomimicry.

Why is it green?
Well, it’s covered with lush vegetation for a start!  The vegetation not only collects and filters the rainwater but provides thermal mass to regulate the temperatures inside the house.

Check out Sally’s blog for more BUG Designs.