Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Greening the Bungalow

So I'm taking a Green Building Design class this semester and it's filling my little head with all sorts of ideas for the house. I know, I know--how can I possibly say that I want a green house when I refuse to replace our old original windows with new double paned ones? Well, even though I refuse to sacrifice the character of the house for energy efficiency, there are still a bunch of things I am willing to do. And beside, replacing windows is waaaay out of our budget anyway so the argument is moot.
But what I really get excited about is water. I think about water a lot and what's going to happen when there isn't enough to go around. If you think oil wars are bad, just wait til we start fighting over water, which is why conservation now it extremely important. Some day I would love to install a gray water system that captures all of our sink, shower, and laundry water to reuse in the garden or at least the toilets. It's such a waste-all that nearly perfect water washing down the drain to be mixed with our nasty toilet water. I think about it every time I brush my teeth. There's a group called Greywater Guerrillas out of the Bay Area (I think) that has a website all about sustainable household water issues. It's pretty cool. Installing a system is pretty pricey I think and California's permitting process makes it difficult but I still dream about doing it some day.

An example of a greywater system.

Another thing I really want to do, which I think is much more feasible is rain water harvesting. I want to attach water storage tanks to our downspouts and keep the rainwater collected in the rainy season to use as irrigation in the summer. So much of our water runs off of roofs and paving and then into sewer drains and out to the bay. All this water can be collected and used instead of using perfectly clean drinking water to water our rose bushes. Honestly it's a bit ridiculous when you really think about it.

One example of a rain barrel with a hose for watering.

Another larger system of more water collection.

Oh, I also want to put a green roof on the garage!! It would be so cool.

A meadow on the roof. Who would have thought??

1 comment:

Molly said...

That looks really cool! I love the idea of a green roof on your garage. Whenever I look at all the ugly flat apartment roofs around, I dream of how pretty it would be if they all had rooftop gardens.