The Whole HOG: February/March 2014

Water-centric Green Design News

Is resilience the new sustainability?” Jill Fehrenbacher asks in a recent Inhabitat article that has us thinking. Her focus is on steps for making commercial building, particularly in cities on the East and West coasts, more resilient in the face of natural and man-made disasters, such as fire, earthquakes, flooding, and terrorism.

If you’ve been reading along with us here at The HOG Blog, you’ll know that we’ve been following with interest Hurricane Sandy in New York City and the resulting new building and design codes in NYC, along with strategies for dealing with flooding from flood walls to built infrastructure.

Being in the Bay Area makes us particularly sensitive to earthquake danger, as Sally Dominguez notes in a recent interview with Advance. This Australian non-profit has a global network focused on connecting talented Aussies internationally. In May 2012, Sally was nominated as one of Advance’s 50 for the Future.

Resilient design is defined by the Resilient Design Institute as “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life”.

The HOG tank is built for both sustainability and resiliency. Made with food-grade plastic, it can double as an 50-gallon emergency water supply, as it does at Edna Maguire Elementary School. In the context of schools (or homes) and safety, the tank’s rectangular shape will prevent it from rolling, loaded with 440-pounds of water, over some unlucky soul in the case of an earthquake.

This edition, it’s confirmed: HOGs and schools make for an award-winning combination. Congratulations to landscape architect Liz Pulver and Town and Garden! Their design of the Rainlab at The Dalton School was recently recognized with a 2014 Merit Award from ASLA-NY.

installation details

If you love to delve into the details, you’ll be in HOG heaven over at our new site!

Preparedness is an element of resiliency too. This February, we’re loading up on resources from estimating your garden’s water needs to easy tips for conserving water to a new website with rainwater case studies. From single tank collection to large-scale harvesting and innovative custom solutions, check out to find out how to configure your own system.

Don’t miss our B.U.G. Design feature on inspirational architect and scientist Ginger Krieg Dosier who’s cutting out the kiln, and the carbon emissions,  from bricks by growing bio bricks with her award-winning company BioMason.

Feb/March 2014: Gardenista Asks the Expert – Tips on Saving Water

Sally Dominguez, HOG co-founder and inventor, recently spilled the dirt to Gardenista on seven water-savvy, people-friendly tips to conserve agua as the California drought continues. Yes,  it’s raining now, but we have a whole lotta water to catch up on to bring our water tables and reservoirs back up!


Sally Dominguez at the former home of David Gottfried, founder of the U.S. Green Building Council. This Oakland Craftsman has 9 HOGs and at the time, the highest LEED certification of any home.

1. Collect water in the shower. Before you turn on the faucet to heat up water to take a shower, place a bucket or pail on the floor to catch running water. Use that bucket to water garden plants.

2. Keep your lawn, but water it with graywater. Drain water from the clothes washer and the shower into a holding tank and recycle it by using it on the lawn.

“Don’t give up your lawn—my take on it is this: when we moved here from Australia, we went to a house for a cocktail party and saw this lush lawn. My kids and I couldn’t believe it. It looked so rich and inviting we all immediately took off our shoes and walked in it. A lawn is a beautiful, emotional thing, like a pool, and it has an emotional value. It makes a garden look beautiful and serene,” says Sally.

3. Collect rainwater—but don’t use it in the garden. “Bring rainwater into the house and use it to wash clothes. Then use the graywater from the laundry in the garden,” says Sally. “That way you cut down on your use of city water, too.”

Want to see more tips? Check out Sally’s Gardenista interview. Also keep your eyes peeled for a laundry to garden gray water kit from Rainwater HOG to debut soon!

January 2014: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

Insights and Tools for Creative Thinking

HOG Designer, architect and innovator Sally Dominguez is mid-course Winter semester at Stanford teaching a continuing studies class on Insights and Tools for Creative Thinking.

We’re sharing it here in our B.U.G. section because the classroom setting articulates and teases out some of the values that Sally brings to HOG as co-founder and designer. The class is an expansive and exciting illustration of where our core values of innovation and sustainability can lead.

left brain right brain
Why is it beautiful? This class full of creative chaos, group projects and outside-of-the-box problem-solving is at capacity with 48 students (about a 50/50 split between traditional/non-traditional students and men and women) and shows the applicability of creative thinking in manufacturing, business and beyond.

Why is it useful? Sally brings an outsider perspective to the classroom and finds herself in good company with philosopher Jacques Derrida, writer and neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer, maker and architect David Heatherwick, writer of The Toaster Project Thomas Thwaites, and artist Banksy, among others. Ultimately, through hands-on exploration and creative play, participants will leave with a personalized tool kit for the creative prompts, approaches and useful disrupters that best suit each person.

Find inspiration with Sally’s Creative Insight crib notes here.

Why is it green? Students cozy up to William McDonough’s game-changing Cradle to Cradle philosophy, learning how it applies to them. From sessions including reconsidering negative space, thinking backwards, re-thinking what you have, and assemblage and deconstruction, sustainability is taken as a base point and used as a benchmark and goal.

To read more B.U.G. Design features, check out Sally’s Blog.

The Whole HOG: July 2013

Water-centric Green Design News

Foggy summer days can be magical, especially in the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco. The video “Adrift” featured in our B.U.G. Design section captures that magic. We’re staying in Marin (and Sonoma) County long enough to share the news about our favorite kind of giveaway – get rewarded for saving water with the 20 Gallon Challenge.

The Solar Decathlon 2013 challenges student teams from around the globe to keep it local while designing the green home of the future. This month, we’re introducing TEAM ASUNM and their SHADE home, which will be bringing HOG tanks to the contest.

Next, with a spin of the globe, we’ll catch up on HOG inventor (and Aussie) Sally Dominguez’s doings Down Under. Humanitarian engineering, women in design, patent law – don’t miss the party!

July 2013: Parties, Patents and Design Down Under

Engineers Without Borders Gala Dinner

EWB gala dinner

image via Engineers Without Borders Australia

           EWBA 10th Anniversary
Gala Dinner

Friday August 2, 2013
Docklands, Melbourne

Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWBA) is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a Gala Dinner! Our own Sally Dominguez will be emceeing the event. Expect formal attire, fireworks, music, and a visionary look at what’s to come for humanitarian engineering.

Sally was recently named an ambassador for the organization, with which she’s shared an adventure or three. Bringing running water to a birthing room in a rural clinic, a karoake campaign to maintain arsenic-free well water, and waste management in the floating communities are some of the highlights from her trip to Cambodia with EWBA in 2011. Find out more in the archives at The Whole HOG: April 2011 edition.

Protecting Your Patent


image via James Brey, E+/Getty

In this panel discussion from ABC’s Radio National program By Design, inventor and architect Sally Dominguez’s journey with HOG is used as a ‘what-not-to-do’ example of patenting gone awry in Australia.

Learn more on the importance of owning, what Sally describes as, “the whole brand image of what you’ve designed.”

Explore the legal intricacies, and hidden pitfalls of the (sometimes complex) patent process to protect a design.


  Women in Design

women in designSally Dominguez will be talking about the importance of good design with five other artists, architects, and designers who are leading the way
Tuesday, August 13
6 pm  – 9 pm
AGL Theatre,
Museum of Sydney

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

or Alchemy of Sea and Sky

We’ve been talking a lot recently about climate change and politics.
In that conversation it’s easy to forget about the majesty of nature, and it’s deep connection to art and creativity. Robert Krulwich, our favorite NPR science guy, shows us a “beautiful connection” between sea, sky and clouds in his post Just Like Van Gogh, Ocean Waves Paint Clouds in the Sky. “Not only do clouds look like ocean waves, sometimes waves in the ocean help create clouds in the sky,” he explains.

Along those lines, we have something beautiful to share with you:

adriftSimon Christen visited the Marin Headlands, our home stomping grounds, to create this time lapse video of an icon covered in an endless, mesmerizing ocean. Let yourself drift as the fog laps like waves over the Golden Gate Bridge.

                                                    Isaac’s Storm

isaac's stormInterested in the weather? Like a good read? To satisfy the useful category, we have a book to add to our recommended reads – Erik Larson’s Isaac’s Storm. Historian and master storyteller, Larson narrates the story of the hurricane of 1900 that destroyed the coastal Texas city of Galveston. He is equally as adept at tackling the science of hurricanes, as he is at bringing Isaac Cline, chief weatherman of Texas, to vivid, flawed life.  Larson’s books include The Devil in the White City and most recently, In the Garden of Beasts, among others.

The curiosity with which Larson and Krulwich approach their subjects, and their skill in explaining complicated scientific phenomena, make them fantastic guides to life among the clouds. Dive in!

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

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

Water-Gifting Billboard
Lima, Peru

A billboard that dispenses clean, free drinking water in a desert city of 8 million provides a bright sparkle of ingenuity in a thirsty world.

water billboard

image via UTEC

Why is it beautiful? This billboard puts its words into action. It advertises the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC), which teaches a sustainable focus in engineering. The billboard produces 100 liters of purified water collected from the humidity-laden air each day. A  faucet at the base of the billboard dispenses clean, free water to the citizens of Lima.

Why is it useful? Peru’s capital, Lima, is the world’s second largest city located in a desert (after Cairo). Its residents contend with the heat and humidity of an equatorial climate, limited rainfall, and a documented lack of access to safe drinking water.

Add to the equation a waste problem in the form of 200 million plastic bottles produced monthly to quench the thirst of the city’s inhabitants and visitors.

Mayo DraftFCB, the ad agency behind the billboard, puts ‘engineering into action’ to promote education, increase access to clean drinking water and decrease pollution from plastic bottles. No small measure.

Why is it green? The UTEC billboard, installed next to a busy highway, represents an engineering feat on its own: it houses five machines that operate in similar ways to a dehumidifier. But these ‘dehumidifiers’ go further than simply removing water from the air. The water is filtered and transformed into clean, drinking water – that essential substance so important to human life. It’s multi-use rainwater harvesting for the people.

Read more about the water-gifting billboard at

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

+ Cardboard Bicycle on the Go

cardboard bicycleFundraising for Izhar Gafni’s cardboard bicycle, previously featured here, has begun!

Click here to learn more about supporting Gafni’s
revolutionary new mode of transportation.

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,

Rainwater HOG is a standout in The Rain Barrel, Reinvented section of Tricia Edgars’ new overview of revolutionary ways to store rainwater on 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

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.