Sunday, September 2, 2007

Integration of Rain Water, Well Water & Forest Fire Suppression Systems

Update on issue - Sept 11, 2007

After discussing the water supply sytems with John Hill it appears that collection of the rain water would first likely go through a rough filtering process of some sort, followed by a storage tank for this water. The filter or filtering would likely have some sort of back flushing component to it that would be pressurized to feed into the septic system or just manually cleaned. The rainwater would then go into another filtering process, and if the well water is in need of filter, there may be a need to send the well water through its own filtering tank, (not the same tank, need to verify). The well line would connect onto the rain water supply feed between the rainwater storage tank and the second filtering tanks with backflow and check valves, (verify this as well) Following the filtering process the water would go through either a small pressurizing tank for the rainwater or pressure tank for the well water. The well water would go to the cold water line to the fixtures in the house or through a coil in the thermal storage tank for preheating of the water for hot water. If there isn’t enough hot water then it would get a boost from the on demand hot water heater and continue on to supply the fixtures calling for hot water. The rain water would go through a separate coil in the thermal storage tank and then out to the fixture calling for the hot water. However, if we would run out of heat from the thermal storage tank then we would have a manual shut off valve with backflow prevention that would switch to the well water supply for hot water source. We will need to run two separate supply lines for hot and cold off of the main trunks to all fixtures that will receive rain water and the well water supply. We will be running copper supply lines for all the potable water sources to the Lake Home. The unknowns are related to what filtering process will be required and how to collect the rain with the least amount of maintenance. Keeping the goal in mind; the quality of the water and opportunities for irrigation are the two main reasons for pursuing this system. We will need to verify the quality of the water once the well is drilled to determine if iron rich or hard water is actually a problem to resolve. It was also determined that keeping the irrigations of the green roof separate from the forest fire suppression system is the best solution due to the need to have smaller sprinkler heads for irrigation than for the forest fire prevention system. We will be using rain water collection system for all irrigation, regardless of what is decided for the showers, toilets and laundry water supply source. See up dated diagram of this plan.

Sept. 9, 2007 entry,
I spent part of the day revisiting the idea of a rainwater collection system for a portion of the water usage for the site. It was determined that since we have the most accommodating site possible regarding porous soil/septic system and since we will be greatly reducing the water usage due to installation of extremely low flow plumbing fixtures and appliances we would not be installing grey or black water reuse systems. However, it is likely the water we will get from our well will be iron rich and hard but plentiful and not located deep into the ground. Additionally, we are planning to have food crop irrigation, thus rainwater in lieu of pumped well water is a better water source if planned into the project properly. Currently the thought is to have a storage tank of water in the area below the garage, (Dave we need to size this accordingly), take the water from the tank to a pressure tank that would be located in the mechanical room through a supply line. Then provide a check valve on this supply line followed by a branch off of it that would connect to the well water pressure tank (do we need a different pressure tank for both well verse rainwater?) The branch from the well water would also have a check value for shut-off purposes. Then have the filtering system before the pressure tank, (Dave would filtering the well water, should we run out of the rainwater supply in the winter and need to use well water, be a added benefit ?). This filter and pressurized water would then head to a cold water line or to the thermal mixing tank and be heated using an on-demand propane domestic hot water system that is integral with the solar heat collection system.(Dave, not sure of the sequence here but took a stab at it based on Mikes thoughts) This idea requires the clean up of the water so that it is potable, this would eliminate the need to have two sets of plumbing lines off the branches one for the Rainwater and the other for well water, is the cost (capital and energy load) to clean up the rainwater unreasonable? If it is cost prohibitive or is a heavy energy load then it seems that running two separate plumbing runs off branches would be the means to solve the issue and we would then need two on demand gas propane hot water heaters, one for the rainwater system and the other for potable water from the well.

Two other related items of concern, the irrigation of the green roof and the use of plastic piping for potable water consumption.

I just walked around the site with George Carlson, the fire fighting sprinkler system supplier. Interestingly, he has a water purification system in his Gunflint Trail home. (It is called Rainsoft). However, he brought up the feature of making sure that we use the, fighting sprinkler heads (three on the house & one on the garage) as the means to irrigate the green roof. If we connect this system with the rainwater collection system, we can switch to the use of the rain water collection tank when watering the green roof and then have it default back to the lake water pump when not in use. Seems like a sound idea. Additionally he mentioned that his filter system for the water is feed back into the septic system. Is this a possibility? It seems that we would have to either pump it up or located the filtering system above the septic for this to work. Anyway there are a number of questions regarding how to best integrate this system.

Additionally, Mike will be sending us information regarding the potential health hazards of the bi- products leaching out of plastics. We will be considering the use of plastics for the plumbing runs after this information has been provided.

7 comments:

Lumberman said...

This home is more than a waste. The idea of having a home that is a benchmark for envirnomental sustainabilty is noble and admirable. But the wasteful use of material and frivolous trips to Germany to "shop" for windows, in itself departs from resourceful and careful use of our other natural resources. Just the fuel and oil resources used to dig and refill the foundation. Not to mention oil required make the endless sheets of foam insulation used. This all shows a lack of forethought about the testimony you may leave to others. The amount of lumber used to build the double walls along with the Glu-Lam Beams, eliminated a forest somewere all by itself. The need for the lumber to be tracked from the logging to installation to prove it's sustainability, brings nothing to it's actual phyical affect on the envirnoment were it sits. I can see the value in making sure that our lumber resources are regenerated and cricticaly managed. I think we can all agree on that. It seems the only thing you are accomplishing is to show the rest of the world just how wastefull we as Americans can be. In trying to build a earth friendly home you are just wasting precious energy and being inefficient. Building this home in the center of some of this countries most beautiful and pristine wilderness areas, is in itself going against all you are setting out to prove worthy. Having this little test project is notable and deserves some merit. Although in attempting to maintain and all green, all earth friendly home you have plopped it in the center of what was already green. What was already balanced and natural. I am a graduate of Dunwoody Industrial Institute in Architectural Drafting and Estimating. I have been involved in all aspects of contruction and retail building material sales for 35 years. I have never seen such wasteful use of materials and resources in the name environmental accountability. The house looks interesting, I think you should have built it the burb's were it could be seen and googled over. Respectfully Yours, David Darnell, Duluth, MN

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