Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rainwater Collection Installation #1

The other weekend we finally got the new guttering installed on the workshop and the first of two rainwater collection barrels in place. And it was just in the nick of time as we got, what will probably be, the last of the rain and boy did it rain.

First we got the guttering  up, which, with the help of the scaffolding, was actually pretty easy to install.
Once this was up we put one of our 1,500 gallon tanks place at one end of the shop and attached the run off pipes. 

We have a second tank of the same size that we weren't originally going to install, but instead pipe the gutter on the other side over to this tank. That in itself was causing a headache of how to pipe it over and get past the doors without going all the way down and pumping it back up into the tank. then we did the calcs on how much water we could expect to get off the rooftop.

The calculation is -
A * R/12 =cubic feet/year
cubic feet * 7.43 = gallons/year
where A = Area of catchment in square feet and R = Inches of rain you get a year

So when we did our calculations we got 3,000 gallons per year that we would be able to capture off of the roof top. And we receive all that rain in the space of about 3 months so one 1,500 gallon tank was not going to be enough - Enter tank #2.

We have tank #2 here, it just needs a clean out and to be put in place and piped into the gutter on that side of the shop. We will need to relocate the diesel tank somewhere else, but it will be great to have 3,000 gallons of water storage. 

We did have our first huge rain storm 2 days after we installed the system. It was great to see it doing its job and watch that huge tank fill up with water. We got 500 gallons in 3 hours, but I will say, it was QUITE a rain storm.

Now please note that these tanks are WHITE!! Duh, you say. You cannot store potable water in white tanks as these are more susceptible to algae growth. Also, we are not doing any extra filtration system on the rainwater we catch beyond a basic household water filter. This water will just be for toilet flushing and washing and cleaning. We will be installing another tank for storing potable water from our spring on the other side of the property that will be a special green tank and since its already the spring water we drink at the house we won't need to filter it like we would rainwater.

But even if you don't live in a drought ridden area like CA, think about a small rainwater collection system. How great would it be to have a green lawn all summer and a clean car and not put any added pressure on your well or town's water supply. Its so easy to do and so nice to have that little reserve for a non-rainy day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let there be Light

We had a weekend of lighting, lights and light bulbs. My new office that we are building up in the workshop, its always good to work outside the home, even if it is just a couple of hundred feet from my home, was in need of some lighting as we close it in from the rest of the workshop.

We did put in 2 windows so we will get some air flow and light from the interior of the shop and are planning on installing 2 exterior windows so I can stare at the view instead of work we can get the breezes in the summer from up the valley, which will be nice. But we wanted to come up with a cheap lighting fixture that hung over the desk area but  wasn't fluorescent strip lighting. Here is what we came up with -
We used small galvanized buckets with simple light fixtures and hung them over the desk area.

We weren't sure what to hang them from as the ceiling in the workshop office is quite high. So enter, a cottonwood branch cut last year. It was a perfect fit and we curled the lamp cords around the branch to the electrical outlet.
It is working out perfectly with lots of light flowing on the desk, no loss of workspace and its lovely soft lighting from globe CFLs. I am thrilled with our experiment.

Our second lighting project was in our current kitchen. As most know, we refuse to spend a dime or a second on this current abode as its not worth it and will be torn down next year. BUT - the lighting in the kitchen was getting on my every nerve, between the horrid, cold, stark fluorescent light strip, but it was also the ultimate bug collector which drove me nuts. I recently got hold of the new SUNSET Green Home Design Book, which is fantastic and got an idea of a light fixture from there and so off we went to source out some fixtures that would fit the bill.

And here is what we ended up with -
Yes, its another galvanized bucket with a light fixture recessed inside. What a difference. Kyle installed it while I was at work and I cam home and couldn't believe the difference in the lighting and how more comfortable the space looked (as comfy as our double wide can be) and best of all, it doesn't provide a resting place for the buggies. I never realized how important lighting, types, placement, style etc. was. It makes a HUGE difference to a space.

Well, now we are on a roll and have tons of ideas for new lighting options...its pretty cool and fun to come up with new ideas and styles so stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fu-Tung Cheng's own Countertops

I posted a little while ago about timeless options for the house and how Fu-Tung Cheng, of Cheng Design, had done the countertops in his house over 25 years ago and how stunning they were today and are regularly featured in Kitchen Design magazines. I finally found a video clip of his home on the Concrete Network - check it out. Here is the link to the entire piece on the Concrete Network.