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12/11/09

Prefab Green Home Systems Post #1 For A Net Zero Off Grid Modern House Kit!



In Virginia it is 22 degrees. Handsome Husband is off cavorting in Florida (Ok, fine, it's work, but *I'm* stuck with the chilluns, dawgs, chickens, fish, and feral cat!), so I will not be visiting the net zero off grid prefab green home this weekend as the logistics to do so alone are overwhelming.

So here come the net zero off grid prefab systems posts, guest written by Handsome Husband: Part One: Rain Water Systems.
**NOTE*: *OUR* systems choices are so minimal and bare bones, you will almost certainly want to consider the more robust packages our partners offer. But our focus as a family is to do as much as possible with as little as possible.**



"I will post our system choices for the casa ti prefab over the next few days. Every post will focus on a subject, beginning with how we plan on supplying the casa ti with water.

We will use rain water collection as the water source. In our area in central Virginia we receive sufficient annual precipitation to easily provide water for a 4 person house hold without having to dig a well. Rainwater collection begins with the choice of roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are not the material of choice as new shingles could leach petroleum products and contaminate the rain water - we chose a metal roof on the southern side of the house for this reason. The northern half of the roof is wrapped in a rubber membrane as a basis for the green roof (vegetation that is as everything seems to carry the term "green" these days). Rainwater from the vegetated roof area should not be used for potable uses but can be used for irrigation and other non potable needs.


We will use a WISY WFF 100 as the primary rainwater filter. This filter receives the rainwater from the downspouts, and separates debris from the water routed to the cistern. We will need to design the downspouts so that they all merge into this single filter. http://www.rainwatermanagement.com/product.php


Next comes the cistern. The first choice is between an above-ground cistern and one that is buried. We are considering going in between in that we would place the cistern in the root cellar. Root cellars are semi-buried structures that enjoy some of the same benefits as geothermal heating: In the winter the stay above freezing and in the summer they don't heat up as much as the ambient temperature. The same will be true for our water!

We plan on using a 1500 gallon polytank intended for freshwater storage (http://www.watertanks.com/products/0005-028.asp).


Now that we have collected, filtered and stored the water we need to pump it into the house. We will extract the best quality of water from the tank which is just below the surface using a floating inlet filter. This type of filter is connected to a floating ball and collects water 4 " below the water surface and comes with 8' of hose to connect to the pump http://www.rainwatermanagement.com/product.php.


Next we will install whole house sediment filter. Given the design of the inlet filter I don't expect this filter to collect much of anything but hey, these filters are relatively cheap and collect objects down to 1 micron. (http://www.purewaterforless.com/site/675488/product/PE-SPF-34)

There is some debate about the need for UV light as an additional purification method. We will have the water quality tested once the system is installed and will see, whether this will be necessary in our application. Until then we will bring bottled water and just cook/shower with water collected from the sky. As with any water system, it is important to have the water tested for water quality. Additional filtration may be necessary once the system is installed and tested. Any water system including wells should be tested at least annually to ensure the water quality remains at the highest level for human consumption.

That's it for this first systems post for the net zero SIPs passive solar prefab, casa ti! Our next post will describe our approach for heating the water (DHW)."

There you have it, straight from the Handsome Husband's mouth.
Now if only he'd only hurry home so I can take a break!
We will be visiting the prefab next weekend as we have a meeting with our Fabulous Contractor regarding our next steps for the net zero prefab green home.





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