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!

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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!

July 2013: 20 Gallon Challenge

20 gallon challengeHey California friends, we want to tell you about an ongoing water conservation contest with the opportunity to win some great prizes.

The Sonoma Marin Water Saving Partnership is sponsoring the 20 Gallon Challenge. Make a commitment to save 20 gallons of water per day – this can be as simple as running the dishwasher only when it’s full or removing two minutes off of outdoor irrigation time – and enter to win through October 2013.

Our water-saving tip: go for 50 gallons! Install a HOG tank to re-use your rainwater.

February 2013: Rocky River Green Home

Rocky River Green Home Leads by Design

When it comes to homes, Beverly Maloney- Fischback, CEO, founder and publisher of Organic Spa Magazine, believes in “good bones” and green renovation.

Rocky River Green Home

A four-HOG modular system harvests the rain at the Rocky River Green Home.

She is incorporating the values of the leading American eco-lifestyle magazine that she helms into her Rocky River Green Home (RRGH) renovation. The home will be the first green energy-efficient home in the neighborhood, and the first renovated green home in the Rocky River region, located outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

She touts the benefits of rainwater harvesting in a recent RRGH blog update. Her new home will use four Rainwater HOG tanks, which will capture rainwater year-round to the tune of 1,200 gallons annually, for landscape irrigation.

Why did Bev choose HOG tanks?
• ease of installation
• space conserved with a vertical installation
• ready expansion potential of the HOG modular system

Not to mention that HOG plays well with others! Unused grey water from the home’s Brac Grey Water tank system will be fed into the HOGs for lawn and garden irrigation.

Solar heating joins rainwater harvesting and grey water recycle in an energy efficiency triple-threat at the RRGH. And, Beverly notes, she and her husband made sure to incorporate “a dose of spa wisdom and wellness into their design” with the second floor yoga room with sunset and lake views, and an “organic spa” themed master bath.

This CEO knows the power of leading by example. She explains, “What we are most proud of is that we will be an example on how to incorporate green building into an existing home and how to further the mission of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”

Owners of the Glencoe Green Home, profiled in August 2012, can relate.

The Whole HOG: September 2012

Water-centric Green Design News

“Water is fundamental to our economic vitality and overall quality of life, not to mention our very survival. And, at about a penny a gallon (far less than the cost a gallon of milk – or bottled water), this precious resource is also an exceptional value; especially considering how often we use it every day.”
– Randy A. Moore, President of Iowa American Water

This September, when it comes to water, we’re taking problem-solving seriously. Doctor HOG helps brainstorm solutions for Frank Katz’s two-HOG installation in New Mexico, and we get real-world perspectives on America’s water crisis from a clean energy economy advocate in California and from the president of Iowa’s largest investor-owned water utility.

We also feature an award-winning, student-designed hybrid. Read more about the water-saving Washit in our B.U.G. Design section. And speaking of student-powered solutions, registration is now open for the EPA sponsored Campus Rainworks Challenge!

September 2012: Ask Dr. HOG

Ask Dr. HOG

In the spirit of brainstorming and problem solving we will be sharing some of the queries that come to us about installed HOGs or planned HOG installations. Our first is from Frank Katz in New Mexico who has two HOGs installed on their sides, and buried at the back of a raised garden bed.

Potted plants and a garden make for a welcoming entrance to this Santa Fe, New Mexico home.

Two HOG tanks, discreetly covered, irrigate the Katz garden.

ISSUE: HELP! Heavy rain is causing my filter to block and my garden may wash away in the next big storm!

Frank installed his HOGs in summer 2012 to water his Santa Fe garden. The HOGs form the back of the raised garden, and a retaining wall at the front completes the installation. The water in the HOGs can go two ways: either via a spigot to a hose on the porch for watering potted plants, or via a drip system to the front garden. Ingeniously, Frank is using an RV pump to circulate the HOG-held water.

SOLUTION: Frank plans on installing a larger filter. And he’s right: a larger filter would mitigate the heavy storm water flow. A large vortex filter, which uses cyclonic separation rather than a physical mesh to filter roof water is ideally suited to the heavy rainfall and hail of the Southwest. (Watch a video of a vortex filter at work here.) It is also important, with only 100 gallons of water storage, that the overflow from the HOGs is plumbed using larger diameter pipe (the same diameter as the downspout is best) above the level of the HOGs and the vents, and is routed away from the raised garden.

Backed up debris filter? No water pressure? An unorthodox install that works like a dream? If you have questions or solutions to share, talk to Dr. HOG!

 

 

September 2012: The Case for Fixing America’s Water Infrastructure

The breakdown of water infrastructure in the U.S. is making headlines. Recently, we’ve come across articles with messages that resonate with reports on America’s water crisis posted in our March and April editions.

Want Jobs? Fix America’s Water Crisis

“The most urgent deficit America needs to resolve right now is our job deficit. And fixing our infrastructure — especially the systems that keep our water safe and clean — is one of the best ways we can put people to work,” writes Jeremy Hayes in his recent Huffington Post article, “Want Jobs? Fix America’s Water Crisis.”

Hayes works as the Chief Strategist for State and Local Initiatives at Green For All, a U.S.-based organization “working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.”

He makes a compelling case for the common sense logic behind fixing the U.S.’s crumbling water infrastructure as a way to boost the economy and create jobs. He goes further to argue that when cities embrace green water infrastructure they can reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants, protect groundwater, improve air quality, and even increase property value.

Water Companies Need to Increase Infrastructure Investment

Meanwhile in Iowa,  the president of the state’s largest investor-owned water utility is making a case for the continued need to maintain and improve a system of aging pipes in his op-ed,  “Water Companies Need to Increase Infrastructure Investment.”

Randy A. Moore, president of Iowa American Water, writes, “The time has come for us as a nation — community by community — to commit to adopting strategies to renew our water infrastructure.”

The approximately $10 million a year that Iowa American Water invests in their water systems helps ensure the continued stability of other infrastructure, such as transportation, roads, homes and businesses.

Echoes Down the Pipe Line

Moore echoes some of the warning from the report on America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge featured in our April 2012 edition. He emphasizes the fact that postponing investment in updating an aging water infrastructure system ultimately increases the expense of repairs.

On a brighter note, Moore also represents, in real-time, some of the solutions suggested by the Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure highlighted in the March 2012 Whole HOG.  An investor-owned water utility like Iowa American Water relies on private, market-based financing mechanisms that can better support local, customer-supported water solutions.

These local water solutions can improve efficiencies, including green infrastructure, closed-loop systems and water recycling, and, as Hayes suggests, create jobs.

September 2012: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

                                                                Washit

While we might not go so far as to call the Washit “my green shower pleasure” (something might have been lost in translation from the iF award panel to us…), we’re pleased to share with you this multi-tasking, water-saving new design that combines a shower with a washing machine. Washit is a closed system shower stall/washing machine concept from four Turkish university students.

The Washit re-mixes two domestic standards (the washing machine and shower stall) into one water-wise product that offers improved form and dual functionality.

Why is it beautiful? Winners of the water efficiency prize for the iF Concept Design Award 2012: Hansgrohe Special Award, the young designers were praised for “a clever solution” in a contest that favored intuitive, well-presented  designs. Notes from judge Andreas Haug highlight the Washit’s strengths, “identical components, resource-saving, aesthetic appeal, hygienic.”

Why is it useful? This is a sleek hybrid of two household standby’s that allows you to take a shower and wash your clothes simultaneously.  In the Washit, water used for showering is collected as grey water. Once filtered, the water is stored and ready to use again – for the shower or the washing machine. In case of water loss, water is supplemented from the water mains.

Why is it green? Washit offers a revolution in the wash cycle: from your body to your clothes, at home and in public. (A public use scenario Washit offers a privacy screen for a quick clean at airports, gyms, or music festivals.) Be green while you get clean with Washit.

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