In this age of the Smart Home, as a new home buyer you may ask how you can use the latest technology to make your new home vastly more water efficient than existing homes. The answer, as most homeowners are finding out, is on-site Home Water Recycling. What most home buyers do not yet know is how to talk to their builder about Home Water Recycling when it is not offered as a "Home Option".
Why Home Water Recycling is so Powerful against Drought
Climate forecasters predict that California droughts in this century could be longer and vastly more severe than those experienced in the 20th Century. The convergence of population and temperature rise may restrict the availability of water for “unnecessary” urban water uses like irrigation for landscaping.
When such a severe drought hits your community, how will you feel it? Most likely, the local water agency will prohibit the use of drinking water for landscape irrigation except in very limited amounts – as they did during the recent drought.
Fortunately, there is close parity between the water needed for irrigation and the barely-used drain water that is conventionally sent to sewer from showers, baths and the laundry – what we call grey water.
How Does Home Design Change for Home Water Recycling?
When talking to your Builder about Home Water Recycling, it helps to see it from the Builder’s perspective.
In order to build your new home so it can recycle its own water, your architect or builder needs to consider just four changes to the design of the home.
- Plumbing design – mainly the flow of drain water from the house to the sewer system, the placement of the Home Water Recycling system, and piping to irrigation
- Grey water pipe installation – this second set of pipes must be incorporated “behind the wall” during the original construction of the house
- Tank infrastructure – Home Water Recyclers need to access grey water and store cleaned water. Normally, an underground installation at that point when the foundation is being dug is the most efficient use of time, space and therefore money.
- Treatment appliance installation – the treatment device sits at the heart of the Home Water Recycler. Interestingly, it is the only part of the four-step design process that could be considered optional at the time of original home construction. As long as the first three steps are completed, the home is fully “Recycle Ready,” and the treatment appliance could be easily installed at a later date.
For your builder, the requirements of Home Water Recycling are an extension of their extensive knowledge about residential plumbing. If this is the first time for them to install this system, the one area of potential concern to your builder may be their own liability for the performance of the Home Water Recycling system.
What if my Builder does not want to Install the Home Water Recycler?
If you find that your architect or builder discourages you from including a Home Water Recycler in your new home, you should first off explore the reason for their resistance. Are they convinced that California will have ample precipitation for the life of your new home? Can they assure you that there are easier ways to protect your new home in the event of severe drought?
Fortunately, you have three factors working in your favor:
- “Recycle-Ready Home” design requires only minor tweaks to conventional home plumbing design.
- Architects, and builders, are by most counts conventional businesses, and they like to please their customers.
If you are still challenged by the reaction of your builder to your desire for Home Water Recycling, contact us and we will be happy to strategize with you and support your request to your builder. Now is the very best time to enable your new home to recycles its own water. It is also the time to make certain that your home features all that you know it needs.
Bob Hitchner, Chief of Sales & Marketing
Bob joined Nexus eWater as its first full-time American staffer in 2013 when he took leadership of in-region efforts to assess market opportunities, identify early adopters and sources of government support, and build expertise in state and local regulation. Bob is a graduate in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.