Green Home Renovation: Australian Home Builder Creates Water-Conserving House That Captures And Treats 100% Of Its Own Water

25 05 2011


  • Many areas of Australia are operating under severe water restrictions
  • Architects and builders throughout Australia are incorporating advanced water-efficient measures that U.S. water experts point to as practical solutions for our own looming crisis

    The collection tanks feed into the main 32,000-liter tank at the back of the house, where the water is filtered before use via the chemical-free Ecotrol-Radfire system from Australian manufacturer Puretec. The ultraviolet-light treatment destroys microorganisms found in unchlorinated water such as bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungal spores. It operates at a flow rate of 91 liters per minute.

  • Builder Joe Mercieca produced a user-friendly and extremely water-conserving house that won last year’s GreenSmart Award for Water Efficiency from the Australian Housing Industry Association
  • The house, completed last April, captures and treats 100% of its own water, making use of it twice inside the house before employing it for irrigation
  • The whole-house water processing system cost $54,000 (about $55,300 in U.S. dollars)
  • For emergency purposes, the house is tied in to the municipal water system
  • But the reservoir tanks hold a 250-day supply of water so that even with no rainfall his family of five could live in the home for more than six months without tapping into the town’s water supply
  • Rainwater collects on the 3,700-square-foot home’s four slanted and curved corrugated metal roofs and flows into three tanks
  • It is screened and gravity-fed into a 32,000-liter main tank at the rear of the house
  • There are four tanks are capable of holding 90,000 liters
  • The water in the main tank is pressurized and pumped into the house for showers, cooking, drinking, and dish washing
  • To bring it to drinking water standards, it is cartridge particle- and UV-filtered before entering the house
  • A compact greywater system re-treats wastewater from this first round of use and prepares it for washing laundry or cars, toilet flushing and above-ground garden watering
  • A 3,000-liter polyethylene tank at the back of the house holds the treated greywater
  • Once it is utilized a second time, the water diverts into the blackwater system’s 1,500-liter underground tank
  • This water undergoes a sanitizing process with the wastewater irrigating the site’s 5 acres of lawns and gardens
  • The house has no access to the municipal sewer system
  • The home is also miserly in how much it uses, with dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets and showerheads, and an ultra-efficient washing machine and dishwasher
  • The fixtures are certified to a minimum 4-star rating out of 6 in the country’s Water Efficient Labelling and Standards (WELS) initiative, a joint program of federal, state, and local governments.

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“” Green Homes: Tuscon Home Harvests Rain Water, Uses Runoff From Showers, Laundry And Sinks For Irrigation And Has A 3.2-Kilowatt-Hour Solar Panel System

10 09 2010

“…the home should become the first in Tucson to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certified platinum rating, said Rich Franz-Ünder, Pima County’s green building program manager. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design…”

A north-side home, built by a father-and-son team, is slated to be the first in Southern Arizona to receive the highest rating for energy efficiency given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The first house in Southern Arizona likely to receive the highest rating, LEED certified platinum, for energy efficiency. Photo courtesy of NICOLE BRULÉ-FISHER

The house at 1240 E. Blacklidge harvests rain water, uses runoff from showers, laundry and dishes to irrigate desert landscaping, and has a 3.2-kilowatt-hour solar panel system.

Of course, the first thing a meticulous, eco-friendly homebuyer may notice when walking up to the house is the fountain bubbling in the front yard. Fountains use power and lose water through evaporation.

But Drew Lutz, who built the house with his father, David, said the two balanced the energy cost of each component with the comfort it may provide. Someone, after all, is going to live there. The fountain adds aesthetic appeal and drowns out the street noise from nearby Mountain Avenue, he said.

“The biggest thing is compromise,” Drew Lutz said. The ultimate aim is to sell the house and make a profit.

The 2,000-square-foot house – listed at $440,000 – is no doubt a higher-end product. It has glossy, scored concrete floors, bamboo cabinets and large insulated windows. It’s surrounded by corrugated metal fencing accented with caged rock pillars. Drew Lutz said he and his father, who together make up Lutz Construction, wanted to incorporate a new look into Tucson’s traditional feel.

“I feel like Tucson is lacking in modern design,” he said.

In the coming weeks, the home should become the first in Tucson to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certified platinum rating, said Rich Franz-Ünder, Pima County’s green building program manager. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

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“” Landscaping Ideas: American Society Of Landscapte Architects Awarded Outstanding Residential Landscape Designs In 2009 (Video)

31 08 2010

American Society of Landscape Architects 2009 Residential Design Professional Awards, narrated by Susan Stamberg.