This week on the Haven construction site we installed rough plumbing for a grey water reclamation system. This system will eventually filter, store and reuse bathroom sink, shower and laundry water as irrigation in a green house acting as a breezeway between the house and garage. Extra reclaimed grey water will also be used in the landscaping around the Haven.
To reduce water consumption volume, putting a grey water reclamation system in a home can make a lot of sense, especially in desert regions where there is low average rainfall and potential drought periods. However, in climates with high average rainfall, a rainwater harvesting system may make more sense. Regardless of your climate, water reduction and recycling are important elements to incorporate in green home building. Here in Reno we are in the high desert and thus felt that grey water recycling was the best choice.
The average American household uses 59% of its water for outdoor purposes; installing a grey water reclamation system can help slash this use and put water back into the water table, helping to lessen the burden on the surrounding ecosystem and create a more sustainable residential area. For example, the Reno Haven will draw from a well for its water supply along with other residents in the area. Because a nearby golf course uses groundwater for its water needs, the water table was sucked almost dry and dropped to nearly 300 ft below the surface. To help prevent overuse and the need to continuously dig deeper wells in the Haven’s residential community, things such as grey water recycling systems will help allow the water table to balance at a sustainable level.
In our eyes, an added benefit of installing a grey water recycling system into the Haven is that it absolutely compels its residents to support biodegradable and non-toxic products for cleaning purposes. Because the water used in the house will be reused by the vegetation around the Haven, a grey water system promotes a more conscientious consumer. Products to be avoided are those with salt, boron, chloride. Extra information on the intricacies of grey water systems can be found here.