Paradise Valley Oasis Hybrid Home Innovations: Self Sufficient Water Cycle - Homes Across America Search Return

Paradise Valley Oasis Hybrid Home




Goals of Innovation: To develop a clean water supply for the occupants while utilizing all water most efficiently throughout the home.

Description: The Oasis Hybrid Home is currently occupied by two adults and two teenagers. The home is designed to collect rainwater from the roof and store it for later use. In the Paradise Valley of Montana, where there is about sixteen inches of precipitation per year, even snow and ice must be collected during the winter to meet the needs of the home. The tanks are topped off with an abundance of fresh spring rain water in May and June. And in cases of extended drought a well will supply additional water to the tanks.

The steel roof features a large three foot wide gutter, designed to capture and hold snow. Embedded in this gutter is a solar heated hydronic loop, which can be manually activated to melt snow and ice, which is then sent as water to the three 1,600 and two 2,500 gallon storage tanks . Debris is filtered from the water before it goes into the storage tanks by a pile of rock and sand placed in the gutters at the entry of each downspout.

Before the captured rain water is allowed to arrive at the house faucets, it is first filtered through a twenty micron filter, then secondarily through a three micron filter and thirdly through a U.V. filter. The result is fresh, clean and healthy drinking water delivered to all faucets in the house.

For 9800 gallons of water storage capacity to work there must be responsible water usage. The water system relies on the following water saving features for be effective.

An innovative graywater recycling system takes drain water from the sinks, laundry, and baths to first water plants in the atrium, and secondly to flush of toilets (water savings 40%).

A domestic warm water circulating loop eliminates waste cold water while waiting for warmer water to arrive at the faucet (exact savings are unknown, but in the thousands of gallons each year).

Dual flush toilets save one gallon on each low-volume (#1) flush.

Note that none of these water saving features inhibit the luxurious lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to, but each gives us the option to be more water use conscious, if we choose to be or have to be because of an emergency.

Obstacles: There is some work involved with owning an independent water supply. It is considered a small price to pay for being in control of it.

The chores entail:

-- Cleaning tanks and gutters once a year. (Preferably late fall after the trees have shed their leaves.)

-- Changing particle filters every two months in the summer and once every three months in the winter.

-- Having an annual water quality test.

Cost Information: Mankind has lived for centuries without electrical power, but never have they lived without clean drinking water! Because this is such an important fact, the effort and expense to develop an independent water supply for this home has outweighed the expense and effort to install independent generation and storage of power.

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