Special No. 9 House

Top Ten Measure 6: Water Cycle

The importance of the water cycle is evident throughout the house design. Cisterns located under the house are capable of retaining 62% of the precipitation realized from a normal rain event, or 600 gallons. Captured water can then be used by the occupants for irrigation on the property via a remote actuated pressure pump, ensuring the use of captured rainwater is as convenient as municipal water. Although the regional code does not yet allow for the indoor use of rainwater, the house is pre-plumbed for cistern water reuse for toilet flushing in anticipation of future code revisions.

Onsite precipitation that is not retained in the cistern is absorbed through the permeable site surfacing. Ninety-seven percent of the site is directly permeable, rapidly conveying the precipitation into the regional water table, with the remaining 3% being shunted to the permeable areas where it too is rapidly absorbed.

Indoor water use is limited by the use of low-flow fixtures for all lavatory sinks, showers, and toilets.

Precipitation managed on site: 97%
Total water used indoors:
Total water used outdoors:
Percent of total water from reclaimed sources:
Percent wastewater reused on-site:
Calculated annual potable water use: 0 gal/sf/yr

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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