The Whole HOG: December 2012

Water-centric Green Design News

We’d like to begin with a gift for you this New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t directly relate to rainwater harvesting, but it is a conduit to things that sustain us, such as creativity, inspiration, and LEGO metaphors! Here’s what Maria Poporova has to say about her web site, Brain Pickings,

“In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.

Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces…that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower you to combine them into original concepts that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful.”

Check out her musical side project Literary Jukebox, too! As for water-centric green news, read on for an affordable housing development in New York City leading the green way, and a stormwater public education campaign in Pittsburgh promoting water conservation. Don’t miss our comparison/contrast between two prefab homes with radically different notions of how to collect rainwater. In our B.U.G Design section, we share a bit of Christmas whimsy discovered via Krulwich Wonders.

December 2012: StormWorks in Pittsburgh

StormWorks is a Model of Community Engagement in Pittsburgh

“In Pittsburgh, as with most urban areas, a lot of the houses are very close together with small lots for draining stormwater,” explains Luke Stamper of StormWorks, a division of Nine Mile Run WaterShed Association. StormWorks provides simple solutions for Pittsburgh area property owners – such as rain tanks, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and tree planting – to reduce stormwater damage to the water supply.

Two tanks are coupled at each downspout in a narrow alleyway; the harvested rainwater will be used on the homeowner’s lawn and garden.

Recently, StormWorks installed four HOG tanks, which will collect almost 15,000 gallons of water annually,  in a walkway between two houses in urban Pittsburgh. The HOG’s low profile made them the best catchment system for the residential install. In other words, Rainwater HOG tanks fit where rain barrels would not.
A USA Today study documenting the rising cost of water across 100 municipalities shows that water rates doubled in more than a quarter of the locations (such as Philadelphia and Baltimore) and tripled in others (such as Atlanta and San Francisco). The study provides compelling reason for increased awareness and implementation of water conservation practices across cities nationwide.

Public education campaigns can help raise awareness about water management techniques and tools.  StormWorks’  innovative Rain Barrels on Parade program – with rain barrels painted by local artists and displayed throughout Pittsburgh for three months – is a case in point. By sharing ways for homeowners to control their stormwater footprint (and save money on water use), StormWorks empowers Pittsburgh to make positive, measurable changes neighborhood by neighborhood.

Two thumbs up to StormWorks for effective community engagement, and for choosing the most nimble tank on the market for those narrow urban spaces!