The water-starved San Juan Island will be home to the Natural Balance House that is supposed to capture rainwater in its underground cistern to meet all of its drinking, bathing, laundry and flushing needs. The new sustainable house on the island’s northwest coast, which is 65 miles north of Seattle, goes on to demonstrate Glen and Deb Bruels’ initiative to reduce their reliance on the desalination plant that consumes a lot of power.
Innovatively green venture:
Rob Stevens, Senior Project Engineer at Core Design Inc. in Bellevue, Wash., has done a tremendous job in digging a 19,500-gallon cistern from the bedrock under the house. The cistern is accessible through a floor hatch in the master bedroom closet. Certain water-saving fixtures and appliances are incorporated that bring down the daily water consumption to 62.5 gallons of water. The home’s roof will collect 47,000 gallons over the course of a year. The home also features both a metal roof and a 3,000-square-foot “green roof,” planted with native grasses and sedums.
Potable, beyond a doubt:
After going through the filtration system, the water passes through an ultraviolet-light disinfecting chamber to remove any trace bacteria. The resulting water requires no chemicals to make it drinkable.
My analysis, using the most conservative assumptions, shows that the cistern will still have 4,000 gallons of water left at its lowest point. The Bruels should feel comfortable taking an occasional long shower or having visitors over for dinner.
Seeks various green certifications:
Designed by Michael McNamara and built by Ravenhill Construction of Friday Harbor, WA, the Natural Balance House is pursuing five major green certifications:
• First LEED® certified home in the San Juan Islands (targeting Platinum)
• First Emerald Level National Green Building Standard™ Home in Washington State
• Five-Star Built Green® certification
• Certified ENERGY STAR® Home
• U.S. Department of Energy Builders Challenge Home
[Thanks Heather Larson]